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Chapter I. ^ 
From Fernando Po to Loaogo Bay. — The German Expe- 
dition I 

Chapter II. 
To Sao Paulo de Loaada 15 

Chapter III, 
TTie Festival. — A Trip to Calumbo. — Portuguese Hospi- 
tality 31 

Chapter IV. 
The Cniise along Shore — The Granite Pillar of Kinsembo 43 

Chapter V. 
Into the Congo River. — The Factories.— Trip to Sharit's 

Point — The Padrao and Pinda .... 59 

Chapter- VI. 
Up the Congo River. — The Slave D^p6t. — Porto da 

Lenha. — ^Arrival at Boma 81 

Chapter VI J. 
Boma. — Our Outfit for the Interior .... 102 

Chapter VIH. 
A Visit to Banza Chisalla 108 


vi Contents. 

Chapter IX. Page 

Up the Congo to Banza Nokki 12S 

Chapter X. 
Notes on the Nzadi or Congo River . .150 

Chapter XI. 
Life at Banza Nokki 199 

Chapter XU- 
Preparations for the March 239 

Chapter XIII. 
The March to Banza Nkulu 2$S 

Chapter XIV. 
The Yellala of the Congo 282 

Chapter XV, 
Return to the Coi^ mouth 298 

Chapter XVI. 
The Slaver and the Missionary in the Congo River . 308 

Chapter XVII. 
Concluding remarks 332 

Appendix : — 

I. Meteorol(^cal 338 

II. Plants collected in the Congo, at Dahome, and 

the Island of Annabom, by Mr. Consul Burton 345 

III. Heights of Stations, West Coast of Africa, com- 

puted from Observations made by Captain 
Burton 350 

IV. Immigration Africaine 353 



" Allf o mui grande leino estd de Congo, 
For n<5s ja convertido k fi de Christo, 

For onde o Zaire passa claro e longo, 
Rio pelos antiguos nunca visto." 

" Here Ues the Congo kingdom, great and strong, 
Already led by us to Christian ways ; 

Where flows Zaire, the river clear and long, 
A stream unseen by men of olden days." 

The Lvsiads, v. 13, 




Part II. 



URING the hot season of 1863, 
"Nanny Po," as the civiHzed African 
calls this " lofty and beautiful is- 
land," had become a charnel-house, 
a " dark land dismal tomb of Europeans." The 
yellow fever of the last year, which wiped out in two 
months one-third of the white colony — more exactly, 
78 out of 250 — had not reappeared, but the condi- 
tions for its re-appearance were highly favourable. 
The earth was all water, the vegetation all slime, the 
dr half steam, and the difference between wet and 
dry bulbs almost nil. Thoroughly dispirited for the 
first time, I was meditating how to escape, when 



2 From Fernando Po 

H. M. Steamship " Torch " steamed into Clarence 
Cove, and Commander Smith hospitably offered 
me a passage down south. To hear was to 
accept. Two days afterwards {July 29, 1863) I 
bade a temporary " adios " to the enemy. 

The bitterness of death remained behind as we 
passed out of the baneful Bights. Wind and wave 
were dead against us, yet I greatly enjoyed the 
gradual emerging of the sun through his shroud 
of " smokes ;" the increasing consciousness that a 
moon and stars really exist ; the soft blue haze 
of the sky, and the coolness of 73** F. at 6 a.m. in 
the captain's cabin. I had also time to enjoy these 
charms. The " Torch " was not provided with 
" despatch-boilers : " she was profoundly worm- 
eaten, and a yard of copper, occasionally clapped 
on, did not prevent her making some four feet of 
water a day. So we rolled leisurely along the 
well-known Gaboon shore, and faintly sighted from 
afar Capes Lopez and St. Catherine, and the 
fringing ranges of Mayumba-land, a blue line of 
heights based upon gently rising banks, ruddy and 
white, probably of shaly clay. The seventh day 
(August 5) placed us off the well-known " red 
hills " of Loango-land. 

The country looks high and bold after the 
desperate flatness of the Bights, and we note with 
pleasure that we have left behind us the " impervi- 
ous luxuriance of vegetation which crowns the low- 


to Loango Bay. 3 

lands, covers the sides of the rises, and caps their 
summits." During the rains after October the 
grass, now showing yellow stubble upon the ruddy, 
rusty plain, becomes a cane fence, ten to twelve feet 
tall ; but instead of matted, felted jungle, knitted 
together by creepers of cable size, we have scattered 
clumps of dark, lofty, and broad-topped trees. A 
nearer view shows great cliffs, weather-worked 
into ravines and basins, ribs and ridges, towers and 
pinnacles. Above them is a joyful open land, ap- 
parently disposed in two successive dorsa or steps, 
with bright green tiers and terraces between, and 
these are pitted with the crater-Hke sinks locally 
called " holes," so frequent in the Gaboon country. 
Southwards the beauty of eternal verdure will end, 
and the land will become drier, and therefore 
better fitted for Europeans, the nearer it approaches 
Mossamedes Bay. South of " Little Fish," again, 
a barren tract of white sand will show the " Last 
Tree," an inhospitable r^ion, waterless, and bul- 
warked by a raging sea. 

Loango is a "pool harbour," like the ancient 
Portus Lemanus (Hythe), a spit of shingle, whose 
bay, north-east and south-west, forms an inner 
lagoon, bounded landwards by conspicuous and 
weather-tarnished red cliffs. This " lingula " rests 
upon a base of terra firma whose westernmost pro- 
jection is Indian Point. From the latter runs 
northwards the " infamous " Indian Bar, compared 


4 From Fernaiido Po 

by old sailors with a lengthened Bill of Portland ; 
a reef some three miles long, which the waves as- 
sault with prodigious fury ; a terror to slavers, es- 
pecially in our autumn, when the squalls and 
storms begin. The light sandy soil of the main- 
land rests upon compact clay, and malaria rises 
only where the litde drains, which should feed the 
lagoon, evaporate in swamps. Here and there are 
clumps of tall cocoas, a capot, pullom or wild cot- 
ton- tree, and a neat village upon prairie land, where 
stone is rare as on the Pampas. Southwards the 
dry tract falls into low and wooded ground. 

The natural basin, entered by the north-east, is 
upwards of a mile in length, and the narrow, ever- 
shifting mouth is garnished with rocks, the sea 
breaking right across. Gunboats have floated 
over during the rains, but at dead low water in 
the dry season we would not risk the gig. Guided 
by a hut upon the beach fronting French Fac- 
tory and under lee of the breakers off Indian Bar, 
I landed near a tree-motte, in a covelet smoothed 
by a succession of sandpits. The land sharks 
flocked down to drag the boat over the breakwater 
of shingle. They appeared small and effeminate 
after the burly negroes of the Bights, and their 
black but not comely persons were clad in red 
and white raiment It is a tribe of bumboat men, 
speaking a few words of English, French, and 
Portuguese, and dealing in mats and pumpkins, 


to Loango Bay. 5 

parrots, and poultry, cages, and Fetish dolls called 
" idols." 

Half a mile of good sandy path led to the Eng- 
lish Factory, built upon a hill giving a charming 
view. To the south-east, and some three miles 
inland from the centre of the bay, we were shown 
" Looboo Wood," a thick motte conspicuously 
crowning a ridge, and forming a first-rate land- 
mark. Its shades once sheltered the nydre, locally 
called buffalo, the gorilla, and perhaps the more 
monstrous " impungu " (mpongo). Eastward of 
the Factory appears Chomfuku, the village of 
Jim Potter, with a tree-clad sink, compared by old 
voyagers with " the large chalkpit on Portsdown 
Hill," and still much affected by picnickers. At 
Loanghili, or Loanguilli, south of Looboo Wood, 
and upon the right bank of a streamlet which 
trickles to the sea, is the cemetery, where the kings 
are buried in gun-boxes. 

The Ma-Loango (for mwani, " lord " of Loango), 
the great despot who ruled as far as the Congo 
River, who used to eat in one house, drink in 
another, and put to death man or beast that saw 
him feeding, is a thing of the past. Yet five miles 
to the eastward (here held to be a day's march) 
King Monoyambi governs " big Loango town," 
whose modern native name, I was told, is Man- 
gamwdr. He shows his power chiefly by for- 
bidding strangers to enter the interior. 


6 From Fernando Po 

The Factory (Messrs. Hatton and Cookson) 
was a poor affair of bamboos and mats, with par- 
tition-walls of the same material, and made pesti- 
lent by swamps to landward. Litde work was 
then doing in palm oil, and the copper mines of 
the interior had ceased to send supplies. We 
borrowed hammocks to cross the swamps, and 
we found French Factory a contrast not very 
satisfactory to our insular pride. M. Charles de 
Gourlet, of the Maison R^gis, was living, not in a 
native hut lacking all the necessaries of civilized 
man, but in a double-storied stone house, with 
barracoons, hospital, public room, orchestra, and 
so forth, intended for the " emigrants." Instead 
of water, the employes had excellent cognac and 
vermouth, and a succulent cuisine replaced the 
poor Britishers' two barrels of flour and biscuit. 
No wonder that in our half-starved fellow country- 
men we saw little of the " national failing, a love 
of extravagant adventure." The Frenchmen shoot, 
or at least go out shooting, twice a week, they walk 
to picnics, learn something of the langfuage, and 
see something of the country. They had heard a 
native tradition of Mr. Gorilla's " big brother," but 
they could give no details. 

I will conclude this chapter with a notice of 
what has taken place on the Loango Coast a de- 
cade after my departure. Although Africa has 


to Loango Bay. 7 

changed but little, Europe has, and we can hardly 
envy the German nation its eminence and unex- 
pected triumphs in war when we see the energy 
and persistency with which they are applying 
themselves to the arts of peace — especially of ex- 
ploration. And nowhere have they been more 
active than in this part of the world, where their 
old rivals, the English, are apparently contented to 
sit at home in ease, working their factories and 
counting out their money. 

To begin with the beginning. The year 1872 
found the Beriin Geographical Society intent upon 
*' planting a lance in Africa," and upon extending 
and connecting the discoveries of Livingstone, Du 
Chaillu, Schweinfurth, and other travellers. Dele- 
gates from the various associations of Germany 
met in congress, and organized (April 19, 1873) 
the Germanic " Afrikanische Gesellschaft" Ex- 
President Dr. Adolf Bastian, a well-known tra- 
veller in Siam, Cambodia, China, and the Indian 
Archipelago, and who, moreover, had visited Am- 
bassi ■ or Salvador do Congo, the old missionary 
capital, in 1857, was at once sent out as pioneer 
and vanguard to prospect the coast for a suitable 
station and z. point de depart into the interior — a 
scientific step dictated by trained and organized 
common sense. The choice of leader fell upon Dr. 
Gussfeldt, Herr von Hattorf being his second in 


8 The German Expedition. 

command, and with them were associated Dr. Falk- 
enstein as zoologist, and Dr. Soyaux as botanist. 
A geologist, Dr. Lenz, of Hamburg, was sent to 
connect the Ogobe and Okanda rivers with the 
Loango coast, unless he found a likely north- 
eastern route. In this case, the Society would 
take measures to supply him with the necessary 

The expedition began unfortunately, by the loss 
of outfit and instruments in the "Nigritia," wrecked 
off Sierra Leone : it persevered, however, and 
presently met Dr. Bastian and Professor von Gor- 
schen at Cabinda. The former had collected much 
information about the coast. He had learned from 
slaves that the old kingdoms of Loango, Mahango, 
and Angay are bounded eastwards, or inland, by 
Mayombe, a belt of forest, the threshold of the un- 
known interior. It begins the up-slope to_ the 
great Ghat ridge, which, visible after a day's jour- 
ney, separates the coast from the central basin. A 
fortnight or three weeks' march leads to an open 
country, a land of metalliferous hills, where the 
people barter their goods against gfunpowder and 
weapons, brought by traders from the east These 
" Orientals " are now heard of almost all along the 
West African coast, and doubdess, in several 
places, the report will prove true. The prospector 
had also visited, in search of a d<5p6t, FutJla in 


T/te German Expeditw?i. g 

Cabinda-land ; the Tschiluango (Chiloango), or 
Cacongo River, a fine navigable stream, where the 
people float down their palm oil ; Landana ; " Chin- 
sonso " (Chinxoxo, pronounced Chinshosho), Chi- 
cambo, Loango, and the Quillu (Kwillu) stream, 
the latter breaking through the coast range, dis- 
emboguing near Loango Bay, and reported to be 
connected with the great Congo. He found the 
old despotism of Loango to be insignificant, re- 
duced, in fact, to the strip of coast between the 
Quillu and the Luema-Lukallo Rivers. The 
slave trade, once a monopoly of kings, princes, and 
chiefs, is now no more ; legitimate commerce has 
levelled ranks, and the real power is in the hands 
of the wealthiest merchants. 

From the Abb6 Durand, librarian of the Paris 
Geographical Society, we learn : i. That Loango 
is in the Province of Cacongo ; 2. That Cacongo 
is considered a province of Loango ; 3. That Ca- 
congo forms a kingdom of itself, with a capital, 
Ringwele. The name of the late king was " Dom 
Joao, Capitao Mempolo," and, though he had died 
some years ago, he was not buried, for the usual 
reasons, in early 1874. Meanwhile his nephew 
and successor, Mwdti Bona, was acting regent until 
the obsequies shall take place. 

The station finally chosen by the German ex- 
plorers was Chinxoxo, or, as Herr Kiepert uncom- 


lo The German Expedition. 

promisingly writes it, " Tschinschonkscho." It is 
within easy distance of the Chiloango or " Luiza 
Loango" River ; and its port, Landana in Cablnda- 
land, has become a thoroughly Europeanized 
settlement, with five trading stations up stream. 
An empty Dutch factory was repaired, and the 
house, containing a parlour, three small bed rooms, 
and the usual offices, was ready for habitation by 
the second week in October. 

On October 26th, Dr. GUssfeldt, after shaking 
off the "seasoning fever" at Ponta Negra, pro- 
ceeded to make a trial trip, and a route survey 
with compass and chronometer, up the important 
Quillu River. As usual, it has a bar ; within the 
last few years the right bank has been carried 
away by the floods, and some of the old factories 
are under water. The average breadth is 400 
paces, which diminishes to 25 at the rocky "gates" 
near Kama-Chitoma, Manyamatal and Gotu. At 
29 direct miles from the mouth lies " Chimbak," a 
trading station, where Dr. Giissfeldt rested and 
recruited strength for a month. Thence he went 
leisurely up stream to the Bumina Rapids, and 
found the easterly rhumb of the river bending to the 
N.E. and the N.N.E. ; its channel did not exceed 
50 yards in width, and precipitous rock-walls rose 
on either hand. At Bumina as at Gotu the 
Quillu breaks through the parallel lines of Ghats, 


The German Expedition. 1 1 

whose trend is from N.W. to S.E. ; in fact, these 
" Katarakten " are. the Yellalas of the Congo. A 
march of four hours brought him to the Mayombe 
country (circ. S. Lat. 4"), which must not be con- 
founded with the Ma-yumba or northernmost 
possession of the Congo kingdom ; the latter word 
properly means "King of Yumba," as Ma-Loango 
is Mwani-Loango. The Mayombe chief proved 
friendly, and assisted Dr. GUssfeldt to hire bearers 
(November 7) for Yangela, where his excursion 
ended. The boundary-line is marked by a large 
gate, like the two openings in the wooden wall 
denoting the Loango frontier between the Quillu 
and Luema rivers. The character of the country 
changed to the normal park-like aspect of 
Africa above the Ghats ; the dense forests waxed 
thin ; picturesque views presented themselves, 
reminding the wayfarer of Switzerland ; and bare, 
dome-shaped mountains formed the background. 
At Nsunsi, about 2,100 feet above sea-level, the 
eye ranged over the Yangela country, as far as the 
land of the Batetye, whose grassy plains are tra- 
versed by ranges trending to the W.S.W., and 
apparently culminating to the south. At the Tondo 
village the skull of a gorilla was remarked. The 
upper Quillu, after its great bend, proved to be 
350 to 400 paces broad ; and the traveller ascer- 
tained that, instead of being connected with the 


12 The German Expedition. 

great artery, it rises in a lake nearly due north of 
Nsundi (Sundi), near the country of the Babongo 
and the Babum. Dr. GUssfeldt returned to the 
coast on December 2, and prepared for the great 
march into the interior. 

Dr. Falkenstein, the medicus and zoologist^ in 
November 1S73 reported favourably of Chin- 
xoxo. The station is situated on a hilly ridge 
commanding a view of the sea. " It looks impos- 
ing enough, but it would produce more effect if we 
could hoist the German flag, as the other establish- 
ments here do those of their respective nations. 
German ships would then take home news of the 
progress of our undertaking, and the natives would 
see at a distance this token of the enterprising 
spirit of the German nation, and come to us with 
provisions and other natural products." He adds, 
" In Fernando Po, an island which I would recom- 
mend as a sanatorium for wealthy hypochondriacs, 
we found an extraordinary abundance of fruit, 
cocoa-nuts, bananas, mangoes, delicious oranges, 

and pine-apples The ivory trade on the 

Gaboon is very flourishing. A German firm 
which I visited exports ^10,000 worth per annum, 
the value of total exports being _^26,ooo. The 
tusks are very large ; one weighed about 80 lbs., 
and some have ranged to 120 lbs. The other 
articles exported are gum and ebony, which are 


The German Expedition. 13 

brought by the natives, especially the Fans and 
Mpangwes {sic) from the interior. The slave 
trade is said still to be carried on by Europeans, 
though it is not known where the slaves go to " 
(of course to Sao Thom^ and Prince's Island). 
"In the immediate vicinity of our station the chief 

trade is in palm oil and ground nuts Hings, 

chains, crosses, watches, &a, are readily taken by 
the savages in exchange for native goods, and I 
obtained a valuable fetish for a chain and a cross 
worth a silbergroschen." 

After three months spent upon the coast, and 
much suffering from fever, the energetic Dr. 
Bastian was welcomed home on December 13, 
1873. His present book' makes only one instal- 
ment of the work, the other being the " Correspon- 
denzblatterderAfrikanischenGesellschaft." Briefly, 
everything has been done to lay the foundation 
for success and to advertise the undertaking. 
Finally, not satisfied with these steps, the German 
Society for the Exploration of equatorial Africa 
organized in September, 1 874, a second expedition. 
Captain Alexander von Homeyer, a well-known 
ornithologist, will lead it viS. S. Paulo de Loanda 

' " Die Deutsche Expedition an der Loango Kiiste, nebst 
alteren Nachricbten iiber die zu erforschenden Lander." Von 
Adolf Bastian. Jena and London (Triibner and Co.), 1874. 


14 The German Expedition. 

and Cassange (Kasanji) to the mysterious lands 
of the Mwata ya Nvo, and thus supplement the 
labours of Portuguese travellers. This fine un- 
dertaking set out early in 1875. 




WT Loango, by invitation of Commander 
Hoskins, R.N., I transferred myself 
board H.M. Steamship "Zebra," 
one of the nymphs of the British navy, 
and began the 240 miles southwards. There was 
no wind except a slant at sunset, and the current 
often carried us as far backwards as the sails drove 
us onwards. The philosophic landlubber often 
wonders at the eternal restlessness of his naval 
brother-man, who ever sighs for a strong wind to 
make the port, and who in port is ever anxious to 
get out of it I amused myself in the intervals of 
study with watching the huge gulls, which are 
skinned and found good food at Fernando Po, and 
in collecting the paper-nautilus. The Ocythoe 
Cranchii was often found inside the shell, and the 
sea was streaked as with cotton-flecks by lines of 
eggs several inches long, a mass of mucus with 


1 6 To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

fine membraneous structure adhering to the rocks, 
and coagulating in spirits or salt water. The 
drum-fish was not heard except when we were at 
anchor; its sound somewhat suggests a distant 
frog-concert, and I soon learned to enjoy what M. 
Dufoss^ has learnedly named " ichthyopsophosis," 
the song of the fish. Passing Cabinda, 57 miles 
from Loanda, but barely in sight, we fell in witli 
H.M. Steamship " Espoir," Commander Douglas, 
who had just made his second capture of a slave- 
schooner carrying some 500 head of Congos. In 
these advanced days, the representative man walks 
up to you as you come on board ; touches his cap 
or his wool, and expresses his best thanks in West 
Coast English ; when you offer him a dram he 
compares it with the trade article which " only 
'ting, he no bum." The characteristic sights are 
the captured Moleques or negrokins, who, habited 
in sacks to the knees, choose an M.C. to beat time, 
whilst they sing in chorus, extending the right arm, 
and foully abusing their late masters, who skulk 
about the forecastle. 

Ten days sped by before we sighted the begin- 
ning of the end, Cape Spilemberta and Dande 
Point, two bluffs in distinct serrations ; the aspect 
of the land was pleasant, a vista of tall cliffs, white 
or red, rising wall-like from a purple sea, jagged 
with sharp, black reef and " diabolito," and bearing 
on the summit a plateau well grown with grass 


To Sao Paulo de Loanda, 17 

and tree. We then opened a deep bight, which 
iias the honour of being entitled the longest in- 
dentation from Cape Lopez to Great Fish Bay, 
some 17^ or a thousand miles of coast A gap in 
the cliff line and darker vegetation showed the 
Zenza River, generally called Bengo from the dis- 
trict (Icolo e Bengo) which it traverses. Here 
was once a busy settlement much frequented by 
shipping, which thus escaped harbour dues. The 
mosquito-haunted stream, clear in the dries, and, 
as usual, muddy during the rains, supports wild 
duck, and, carried some ten miles in " dongos " or 
fiat-bottomed boats, supplies the capital of Angola 
with drinking water and dysentery. 

As we glide towards the anchorage two features 
attract my attention : the Morro or hill-ridge on 
the mainland, and the narrow strip which forms 
the harbour. The escarpment, sweeping from a 
meridian to a parallel, juts westward in the bluff 
Cape Lagostas (Lobsters), a many-coloured face, 
in places not unlike the white cliffs of Dover; it 
then trends from north-east to south-west, bending 
at last in a picturesque bow, with a shallow sag. 
The material is the taud or blood-red marl of 
the Brazil, banded with white and brown, green, 
chocolate, and yellow ; huge heaps of " rotten 
earth," washed down by the rains, cumber the 
base of the ruined sea-wall north of the town ; in 
front is a pellucid sea with the usual trimmings, 


1 8 73? Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

while behind roll the upland stubbles of autumn, 
here mottled black with fire, there scattered with the 
wild ficus and the cashew, a traveller from the 
opposite hemisphere. 

The Ilha de Loanda, which gave its name to 
the city, according to Mr. W. Winwood Reade 
(" Savage Africa," chapter xxv.), is " derived from 
a native word meaning bald:" 1 believe it to be 
the Angolan Luanda, or tribute. Forming the 
best harbour of the South African coast, it is made 
by the missionaries of the seventeenth century to 
extend some ten leagues long. James Barbot's 
plan (A.D. 1700) shows seven leagues by one in 
breadth, disposed from north-east to south-west, 
and, in the latter direction, fitting into the " Mar 
Aparcelado " or shoaly sea, a curious hook-shaped 
bight with a southern entrance, the " Barra de 
Curinba " (Corimba). But the influences which 
formed the island, or rather islands (for there are 
two) have increased the growth, reducing the har- 
bour to three and a half miles by two in breadth,and 
they are still contracting it ; even in the early nine- 
teenth century large ships floated off' the custom 
house, and it is dry land where boats once rode. 
Dr. Livingstone ("First Expedition," chapter xx.) 
believes the causa causans to be the sand swept over 
the southern part of the island : Douville more 
justly concludes that it is the gift of the Cuanza 
River, whose mud and ooze, silt and debris are 


To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 19 

swept north by the great Atlantic current. Others 
suppose that it results from the meeting of the 
Cuanza and the Bengo streams; but the latter out- 
fall would be carried up coast. The people add 
the washings of the Morro, and the sand and dust 
of the sea-shore south of the city. 

This excellent natural breakwater perfecdy 
shelters the shipping from the " calemas," or peri- 
lous breakers on the seaward side, and the surface 
is dotted with huts and groves, gardens and palm 
orchards. At the Ponta do Norte once stood a 
fort appropriately called Na. Sa. F16r de Rosa ; it 
has wholly disappeared, but lately, when digging 
near the sea, heaps of building stone were found. 
Barbot here shows a " toll-house to collect the 
customs," and at the southern extremity a star- 
shaped " Fort Femand." 

This island was the earliest of Portuguese con- 
quests on this part of the coast. The Conquistador 
Paulo Dias de Novaes, a grandson of Bartholomeo 
Dias,was sent a second time, in a.d. 1575, to treat 
with the king of " Dongo," who caused trouble to 
trade. Accompanied by 700 Portuguese, he reached 
the Cuanza River, coasted north, and entered by 
the Barra de Corimba, then accessible to caravels. 
He landed without opposition amongst a popu- 
lation already Christianized, and, after occupying 
for a few months the island, which then be- 
longed to Congo, he founded, during the next 


20 To Sao Pmtlo de Loanda. 

year, the Villa de Sao Paulo de Loanda on the 

The importance of the island arose from its 
being the great money bank of the natives, who 
here collected the zimbo, bnzio, cowrie, or cyprsea 
moneta. Ample details concerning this industry 
are given by the old writers. The shell was con- 
sidered superior to the " impure or Braziles," 
brought from the opposite Bahia (de Todos os San- 
tos), though much coarser than the small Indian, and 
not better than the large blue Zanzibar. M. Du 
Chaillu (" Second Expedition," chap, iv.) owns to 
having been puzzled whence to derive the four 
sacred cowries : " They are unknown on the Fer- 
nand Vaz, and I believe them to have come across 
the continent from eastern Africa." There are, 
indeed, few things which have travelled so far and 
have lasted so long as cowries — they have been 
found even amongst " Anglo-Saxon " remains. 

The modem Muxi-Loandas hold aloof from the 
shore-folk, who return the compliment in kind. 
They dress comparatively well, and they spend 
considerable sums in their half-heathen lemba- 
mentos (marriages) and mutamb^ (funerals). 

As might be expected, after three centuries of 
occupation, the Portuguese, both in East and West 
Africa, have naturalized a multitude of native 
words, supplying them with a Lusitanian termina- 
tion. The practice is very useful to the traveller, 


To Sao Paulo de Loanda, 21 

and the despair of the lexicographer. During 
the matumb6 the relations " wake " the toasted, 
swaddled, and aromatized corpse with a singular 
vigour of drink and general debauchery. 

I arrived with curiosity at the capital of Angola, 
the first Portuguese colony visited by me in West 
Africa. The site is pleasing and picturesque, con- 
trasting favourably with all our English settle- 
ments and with the French Gaboon ; for the first 
time after leaving Teneriffe, I saw something like a 
city. The escarpment and the sea-bordering shelf, 
allowing a double town like Athene or Thebie, a 
Cidade Alta and a Cidade Baixa, are favourites with 
the Lusitanians from Lisbon to the China seas, and 
African Sao Patilo is reflected in the Brazilian Bahia. 
So Greece affected the Acropolis, and Rome every- 
where sought to build a Capitol. The two lines 
follow the shore from north-east to south-west, and 
they form a graceful amphitheatre by bending 
westward at the jutting headland, Morro de SSo 
Miguel, of old de S3o Paulo. Three hundred years 
of possession have built forts and batteries,- churches 
and chapels, public buildings and large private 
houses, white or yellow, withample green verandahs 
— each an ugly cube, but massing well together. 
The general decline of trade since 1825, and es- 
pecially the loss of the lucrative slave export, leave 
many large tenements unfinished or uninhabited, 
while the aspect is as if a bombardment had lately 


22 To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

taken place. Africa shows herself in heaps of filthy 
hovels, wattle and daub and dingy thatch ; in " um- 
brella-trees " (ficus), acacias and calabashes, palms 
and cotton-trees, all wilted, stunted, and dusty as 
at Cairo. We are in the latitude of East African 
Kilwa and of Brazilian Pemambuco ; but this is a 
lee-land, and the suffering is from drought Yet, 
curious to say, the flora, as will appear, is here 
richer than in the well-watered eastern regions. 

Steaming onwards, at one mile off shore, we 
turned from south-east to south-west, and presently 
rounded the north-east point of Loanda Island, 
where a moored boat and a lantern showed the 
way. We passed the first fort, Sao Pedro do Morro 
(da Cassandama), which reminded me of the 
Aguada at the mouth of Goa Harbour. The 
two bastions and their batteries date from a.d. 
1700. and have been useful in administering a 
strongish hint — in a.d. 1826 they fired into Cap- 
tain Owen. The next work is the little four-gun 
work, Na. Sa. da Conceijao. We anchored in 
five fathoms about 1,200 yards off shore, in com- 
pany with some fifteen craft, large and small, in- 
cluding a neat despatch cruizer, built after the 
" Nimrod " model. Fort S5o Francisco, called 
" do Penedo," because founded upon and let into 
a rock, with the double-tiered batteries ^ la Vau- 
ban, carefully whitewashed and subtended by any 
amount of dead ground, commands the anchorage 


sic j 

To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 23 

and the northern road, where strings of carrega- 
dores, like driver-ants, fetch and carry provisions to 
town. A narrow causeway connects with the gate, 
where blacks on guard lounge in fantastic uniform, 
and below the works are the coal-sheds. Here 
the first turf was lately turned by an English com- 
modore — this tramway was intended to connect 
with the water edge, and eventually to reach the 
Cuanza at Calumbo. So Portugal began the rail 
system in West Africa. 

The city was preparing for her ecclesiastical 
festival, and I went ashore at once to see her at 
her best The landing-place is poor and mean, 
and the dusty and sandy walk is garnished with a 
single row of that funereal shrub, the milky eu- 
phorbia. The first sensation came from the pillars 
of an unfinished house — 

" Care colonne, che fate quSi? 
— Non sappiamo in veriti !" 

The Ponta de Isabel showed the passeio, or pro- 
menade, with two brick ruins : its " five hundred 
fruit-trees of various descriptions " have gone the 
way of the camphor, the tea-shrub, and the incense- 
tree, said to have been introduced by the Jesuits. 
" The five pleasant walks, of which the central one 
has nine terraces, with a pyramid at each extremity, 
and leads to the Casa de Recreio, or pleasure- 
house of the governor- general, erected in 18 17 by 
Governor Vice-Admiral Luiz da Motta Feio," have 


24 To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

insensibly faded away ; the land is a waste, poor 
grazing ground for cattle landed from the south 
coast, whilst negrokins scream and splash in the 
adjoining sea. 

Beyond the Government gardens appears the old 
Ermida (chapel), Na Sa. da Nazareth, which Eng- 
lish writers have dubbed, after Madeiran fashion, 
the Convent The frontage is mean as that of 
colonial ecclesiastical buildings in general, and 
even the epauletted fa§ades of old S5o Paulo do 
not deserve a description. Here, according to 
local tradition, was buried the head of the " intrepid 
and arrogant king of Congo," Dom Antonio, whose 
100,000 warriors were defeated at Ambuilla (Jan. 
ist, 1666) by Captain Luiz Lopes de Sequeira, 
the good soldier who lost his life, by a Portuguese 
hand, at the battle of Matamba (Sept 4th, 1681). 
A picture in Dutch tiles (azulejos) was placed on 
the right side of the altar to commemorate the 

After the Ermida are more ruined houses and 
ragged plantations upon the narrow shelf between 
the sea-cliff and the sea : they lead to the hot 
and unhealthy low town skirting the harbour, a 
single street with small offsets. A sandy strip 
spotted with cocoa-nuts, represents the Praia do 
Bungo (Bungo Beach), perhaps corrupted from 
Bunghi, a pra^a, or square ; it debouches upon 
the Quitanda Pequena, a succursale market-place, 


To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 25 

where, on working-days, cloth and beads, dried 
peppers, and watered rum are sold. Then come 
a single large building containing the Trem, or 
arsenal, the cavalry barracks, the " central post- 
office," and the alfandega, or custom-house, which 
has a poor platform, but no pier. The stables 
lodge some half-a-dozen horses used by, mounted 
orderlies — they thrive, and, to judge from their 
high spirits, the climate suits them. In Captain 
Owen's time (a.d. 1826) there was "a respectable 
corps of cavalry." 

Passing the acting cathedral for the See of An- 
gola and Congo, which deserves no notice, you 
reach the Quitanda Grande, where business is 
brisker. There is a sufficiency of beef and mutton, 
the latter being thin-tailed, and not " five-quju"- 
tered." Fish is wisely preferred to meat by the 
white man, " affirming that it is much easier di- 
gested;" and a kind of herring, and the spams 
known upon the Brazilian coast as the "tainha," the 
West African "vela," and the French " mulct," at 
times superabound. All the tropical fruits flourish, 
especially the orange ; the exotic vegetables are 
large and sightly, but tasteless and insipid, es- 
pecially peas and radishes : the indigenous, as 
tomatoes, are excellent, but the list is small. Gar- 
dens are rare where the soil is so thin, and the 
indispensable irrigation costs money. The people 
still "choke for want of water," which must be 


26 To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

bought : there is only one good well sunk in the 
upper town, about 1840, when the Conde de 
Bomfim was Minister of Marine and the Colonies, 
— it is a preserve for government officials. Living 
in the native style is cheap ; but cooks are hardly 
procurable, and a decent table is more expensive 
than in an English country town. A single store 
(M. Schutz) supplies " Europe " articles, of course 
at fancy prices, and here a travelling outfit may be 
bought. It has been remarked that Loanda has 
no shop that sells " food for the mind ; " this is ap- 
plicable, not only to all East and West Africa, but 
to places far more progressive. A kind of CJifS- 
billard supplies a lounge and tepid beer. The at- 
tendants in Portuguese houses are slaves ; the few 
English prefer Cabindas, a rude form of the rude 
Kru-boy, and the lowest pay of the lowest labourer 
is ^d. per diem. 

The " Cal9ada Nova," a fine old paved " ramp" — 
to speak Gibraltar- English — connects Basse Ville 
and Hauteville. The latter was once a scatter of 
huge if not magnificent buildings, now in ruins; 
we shall pass through it en route to Calumbo. 
Here are the remains of the three chief convents, 
the Jesuit, the Carmelite, and the Third Order of 
St. Francis. The citadel de SSo Miguel, lately 
blown up, has been restored ; the extensive works 
of dressed freestone, carefully whitewashed, stand 
out conspicuously from the dark bush dotting the 


To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 27 

escarpment top. Here also is the Alto das Cruzes, 
the great cemetery, and the view from the sheer 
and far-jutting headland is admirable. A stroll 
over this cool and comparatively healthy escarp- 
ment ended by leaving a card at the Pa50 do 

Lopes de Lima {vol. iii. part ii.) gives S5o Paulo 
in 1846 a total of 5,065 whites, mulattoes, and 
blacks, distributed into- 1,176 hearths; the census 
of 1850-51 raised the number to 12,000, including 
7,000 negroes, of whom 5,000 were serviles ; in 
1863 the figure was understood to have diminished 
rather than to have increased. Old authors divided 
the population into five orders. The first was of 
ecclesiastics, the second contained those who were 
setded for command or trade, and the third were 
convicts, especially new Christians of Jewish blood, 
who were prevented from attending the sacred 
functions for a scandalous reason. Then ranked 
the Pomberos, or Pombeiros, mostly mulattoes, free 
men, and buyers of slaves ; their morals seem to 
have been abominable. Last and least were the 
natives, that is, the "chattels." Amongst the latter 
the men changed wives for a time, " alleging, in 
case of reproof, that they are not able to eat always 
of the same dish ;" and the women were rarely 
allowed by their mistresses to marry — with the 
usual results. The missionaries are very severe 
Upon the higher ranks of colonists. Father Carli 


28 To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

(a.d. 1666) found the whites the most deceitful and 
the wickedest of men, — an effect caused by the 
penal settlement. Father Merolla (a.d. 1682) de- 
clares that " the women, being bred among blacks, 
suffer themselves to be much perverted — they 
scarcely retain anything white about them except 
their skins." J. C. Fgo Cardoso (Memoir pub- 
lished in Paris in 1825) attributes the decadence 
of Angola and Benguela to three reasons ; rare 
marriages amongst the higher orders ; poverty 
amongst the lower ; and the immorality and in- 
continence of both. Lopes de Lima (p. 149 loc. 
cit.) traces the decline and fall of Christianity in 
the eighteenth century to the want of priests, to the 
corruption of the regular clergy (Carmelites and 
Franciscans), for whom West Africa, like Syria 
and Palestine, was made a kind of convict station, 
and to the inhuman slave-export, as opposed to 
domestic slavery. All has now changed for the 
better ; society in Angola is not a whit inferior to 
that of any English colony in West Africa, and, 
as a convict establishment, Loanda is a great 

The theoretical garrison is one regiment of the 
line, a squadron of cavalry, and two companies of 
artillery with three-pounders ; the real force is of 
some 800 men, mostly convicts. No difference is 
made between white and black,nor is thecorps forc^, 
which was once very cruelly used, severely treated 


To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 29 

as the Legion Etrang^re of Algeria. Most of 
the men have been found guilty of capital crimes, 
yet they are allowed to carry arms, and they are 
intrusted with charge of the forts. Violence is 
almost unheard of amongst them : if an English 
saiior be stabbed, it is generally by the free 
mulattoes and blacks, who hate the uniform for 
destroying their pet trade of man-selling. It is 
true that these convicts have hopes of pardon, but 
I prefer to attribute their remarkable gendeness 
and good behaviour to the effects of the first fever, 
which, to quote from the Latin grammar, 
" Emollit mores nee sinit esse feroa." 
The negroes of Loanda struck me as unusually 
ill-favoured ; short, " stumpy," and very dark, or 
tinged with unclean yellow. Lepers and hideous 
cripples thrust their sores and stumps in the face 
of charity. There was no local colouring compared 
with the carregadores, or coolies, from the north- 
east, whose thrum-mop heads and single monkey 
skins for fig-leaves, spoke of the wold and the 
wild. The body-dress of both sexes is the tingd, 
pagne, or waist-cloth, unless the men can aHbrd 
trousers and rj^ged shirts, and the women a " veo 
preto," or dingy black sheet, ungracefully worn, 
like the graceful sdrf of Hindostan, over the bright 
foulard which confines the wool. " It is mighty 
ridiculous to observe," says the old missionary, 
" that the women, contrary to the custom of all 


30 To Sao Paulo de Loanda. 

other nations, buy and sell, and do all things which 
the men ought to do, whilst their husbands stay at 
home and spin or weave cotton, or busy themselves 
in such other effeminate actions." This is not 
wholly true in '63. The " munengana," or ma- 
chila-man, is active in offering his light cane 
palanquin, and he chaffs the " mean white " who is 
compelled to walk, bitterly as did the sedan-chair- 
men of Bath before the days of Beau Nash. Of 
course the Quitandeira, or market-woman, holds 
her own. The rest of the street population seems 
to consist of negro "infantry" and black Portu- 
guese pigs, gaunt and long-legged. The favourite 
passe-temps is to lie prone in sun or shade, chatter- 
ing and smoking the cachimbo, a heavy clay pipe, 
with peculiar stem — " to sleep supine," say the 
Arabs, " is the position of saints ; on the dexter 
side, of kings ; on the sinister, of learned men ; 
and on the belly, of devils." 




3Y first Step after reaching S. Paolo de 
Loanda was to call upon Mr. Commis- 
sioner Vredenburg, who had lately 
taken up the undesirable appointment, 
and who, moreover, had brought a pretty French 
wife from Pard. I had warned him that he was 
risking her life and that of her child ; he bravely 
made the attempt and nearly lost them both, I 
have reason to be grateful to him and to Mr. 
Vice-consul E. H. Hewett for hospitality during 
my stay at the Angolan capital. There is a place 
called an hotel, but it is in the Seven Dials of the 
African city, and — nothing more need be said. 

Fortunately for me, as for herself, Loanda had 
got rid of Mr. Vredenburg's predecessor, who soon 
followed the lamented Richard Brand, first British 
Consul, appointed in 1844. The "real whole- 
hearted Englishman " was after that modern type, 


32 The Festival. 

of which La Grundy so highly approves. An 
honest man, who does not hold to the British idea 
that " getting on in the world" is Nature's first law, 
would be sorely puzzled by such a career. 

The day after ray arrival was the festival which 
gives to SSo Paulo de Loanda its ecclesiastical 
name "da Assump^So." The ceremonies of the 
day were duly set forth in the Boletim Official do 
Governo Geral da Provincia de Angola. A military 
salute and peals of bells aroused us at dawn ; fol- 
lowed a review of the troops, white and black ; and a 
devout procession, flags flying and bands playing, 
paced through the chief streets to the Cathedral. 
A visit of ceremony in uniform to the Governor- 
General, Captain Jos^ Baptista de Andrade, a his- 
toric name in Angola, led to an invitation for the 
evening, a pleasant soiree of both sexes. The 
reception was cordial : whatever be the griev- 
ances of statesmen and historians, lawyers and 
slave-mongers, Portuguese officers are always most 
friendly to their English brethren. The large 
and airy rooms were hung with portraits of the 
several dignitaries, and there was an Old World 
look about Government House, like the Pa?o at 
Pang^m (Goa). Fifty years ago colonial society 
was almost entirely masculine ; if you ever met a 
white woman it was in a well-curtained manchila 
surrounded by " mucambas " or " mucacamas, 
negro waiting maids : " as the old missioner tells 


A Trip to Calumbo. 33 

us, " when they go abroad, which is seldom, they 
are carried in a covered net with attendance of 
captives." AH this is changed, except as regards 
leaving the house, which is never done during the 
day : constitutionals are not wanted in the tropics, 
and the negroes everywhere make the streets unfit, 
except for any but the very strongest-minded of 
the weaker sex. The evenings at Government 
House are passed with music and dancing, and 
petits jewc innocents for the juniors, whilst the 
seniors talk and play voltarete till midnight. I 
well remember one charming face, but I fear to 
talk about it — ten years in Africa cannot pass 
without the saddest changes. 

With an eye to future exploration, I was anxious 
to see something of the style of travel in Angola, 
and to prospect the proposed line of railway 
intended to checkmate the bar of the river 
Cuanza. The Cassange (Kasanji) war on the 
eastern frontier had just ended honourably to 
Portuguese arms, but it proved costly ; the rich 
traffic of the interior had fallen off, and the well- 
known Feira was sending down its fairings to in- 
dependent Kinsembo. Moreover, in order to 
raise funds for the rail, the local Government 
talked of granting the land to an English com- 
pany for growing the highly prized gossypium 

Sr. Jolio Scares Caldeira, C.E., kindly asked me 


34 A Trip to Cahiinbo. 

to join his party, which started early on August 
19. All rode the tipoia, a mere maca or ham- 
mock sadly heating to the back, but handier than 
the manchila: the bearers wore loose waistbelts, 
with a dozen small sheep's bells on the crupper, in- 
tended to proclaim our importance, and supposed 
to frighten away wild beasts. These gentry often 
require the stimulus of " ndokwe " (go on), but 
seldom the sedative of "malemba" (gendy) or 
"quinga" (stop). The " boi-cavallo," the riding 
bull (not ox) of the interior, which costs about ^4, 
is never used in these fashionable localities. I 
failed to remark the line of trenches supposed to 
defend the land-side, but I did remark the " mai- 
angas," said to be indigo vats made by the Jesuits. 
After a hot depression we ascended a rough zigzag, 
and halting we enjoyed a charming view of St. 
Paul. The domed Morro concealing the squalid 
lower town was crowned with once lordly build- 
ings — cathedral, palace, treasury, and fort ; the 
colours of the ground-swell were red and white, 
with here and there a dot of green ; and the blue 
sea rose in its loveliness beyond the hill horizon. 
For a whole league we were in the region of 
" arimos," or outside farms, where villages, villas, 
and plantations, threaded by hot and sandy lanes 
with hedges of green euphorbia, showed the former 
prosperity of the country. Beyond it the land 
forms, as, in Yoruba, lines of crescents bulging west 


A Trip to Calumbo. 35 

or seaward, quartz and pebbles showing here and 
there an old true coast 

After a five hours' ride we reached Cavua, the 
half-way house, where breakfast had been sent on ; 
the habitations aje wretched thatches, crowded 
with pigs and mosquitoes. Clearings had all ended, 
and the red land formed broken waves of poor soil, 
almost nude of vegetation at this mid-winter of 
the tropics, except thickets of "milk plant" and 
forests of quadrangular cactus; the latter are 
quaint as the dragon-tree, some twenty feet tall 
and mostly sun-scorched to touchwood. The 
baobab {adansonia) is apparently of two kinds, the 
" Imbundeiro," hung with long-stringed calabashes, 
which forms swarming-places for bees; and the 
"Aliconda" (Nko?tdo), whose gourd is almost 
sessile, and whose bark supplies fibre for cloth 
and ropes. The haskiil or hig-aloe of Somali- 
land was not absent, and, amongst other wild fruits, 
I saw scattered over the ground the husks of a 
strychnine, like the east African species. Deer, 
hares, and partridges are spoken of in these soli- 
tudes, but they must be uncommonly hard to find 
at such a season. 

About three hours after leaving Cavda were 
spent upon this high, dry, and healthy desert, 
when suddenly we sighted the long reaches of the 
Cuanza River, sharply contrasting, like the Nile, 
with the tawny yellow grounds about its valle)'. 


36 A Trip to Calumbo. 

A steep descent over water-rolled pebbles showed 
the old bank ; the other side, far and blue, 
gave a goodly breadth of five miles; then we 
plunged into the green selv^e of the modern 
stream, following muddy paths where the inunda- 
tion had extended last June. Here tobacco, or- 
chilla, and indigo in the higher, and sugar-cane, 
rice, and ricinus on the lower lands flourish to per- 
fection. The Angolan orchilla was first sent to 
Lisbon by Sr. F. R. Batalha : it is a moss, like 
the tillandsia of the Southern United States, and 
I afterwards recognized it in the island of Anno- 
bom. Passing Pembe and other outlying hamlets, 
after nine hours of burning sun, we entered Ca- 
lumbo Town, and were hospitably lodged by the 
Portuguese Commandant We had followed the 
highway, as a line for the intended railway had 
not yet been marked out, and the distance mea- 
sured 33,393 metres {= 2075 English miles). 

Calumbo is now a poor place, with a few dilapi- 
dated stone houses in a mass of wattle and dgub 
huts, surrounded by large "arimos." The whole 
" Districto da Barra do Calumbo" contains only 444 
hearths. A little stone pier, which Loanda wants, 
projects into the stream ; the lime was formerly 
procured from shells, but in 1761 cjdcareous stone 
was found near the Dande stream. The sightliest 
part is the vegetation, glorious ceibas {bombax) 
used for dug-outs; baobabs, tamarinds which sup- 


A Trip to Calumbo. 37 

ply cooling fruit and distilled waters; limes and 
bitter oranges. The most remarkable growth is 
the kaju or cashew nut : an old traveller quaintly 
describes it " as like St. John's apple with a 
chestnut at the end of it" M. Valdez (" Six 
Years of a Traveller's Life," vol. ii. 267), calls 
it " a strange kind of fruit," though it was very 
familiar to his cousins in the Brazil, of which it is 
an aborigine. Here it is not made into wine as at 
Goa : " Kaju-brandy " is unknown, and the gum, 
almost equal to that of the acacia, is utterly 
neglected. A dense and shady avenue of these 
trees, ten paces apart, leads from the river to 
the parish church of S. Jos^, mentioned by Carli 
in 1666: an inscription informs us that it was 
rebuilt in 1850, but the patron is stored away 
in a lumber-room, and the bats have taken the 
place of the priest Portugal has perhaps gone 
too far in abolishing these church establishments, 
but it is a reaction which will lead to the golden 

The site of Calumbo is well chosen, command- 
ing a fine view, and raised above the damps of the 
cold Cimnza, whose stagnant lagoon, the Lagda do 
Muge on the other side, is divided from the main 
branch by a low islet with palms and some culti- 
vation. At the base of Church Hill are huts of 
the Mubiri or blacksmiths, who gipsy-like wander 
away when a tax is feared ; they are not despised, 


38 A Trip to Calumbo. 

but they are considered a separate caste. I was 
shown a little north of the town a place where the 
Dutch, true to their national instincts, began a 
canal to supply Loanda with sweet and wholesome 
drinking material and waiter communication; others 
place it with more probability near the confluence 
of the Cuanza and the Lucala, the first great 
northern fork, where Massangano was built by the 
Conquistadores. This "leat" was left incomplete, 
the terminus being three miles from St Paul's ; 
the Governor-General Jos^ de OHveira Barbosa, 
attempted to restore it, but was prevented by con- 
siderations of cost 

Calumbo must be a gruesome place to alt ex- 
cept its natives. Whilst Loanda has improved 
in climate since Captain Owen's day (1826), this 
has become deadly as Rome in 1873. The raw 
mists in early morning and the hot suns, combined 
with the miasmas of the retreating waters, some- 
times produce a "carneirado" (bilious remittent) 
which carries off half the inhabitants. Dysenteries 
are everywhere dangerous between the Guinea 
Coast and Mossamedes, the cause being vile water. 
All the people looked very sickly ; many wore mi- 
longos, Fetish medicines in red stripes, and not a 
few had whitewashed faces in token of mourning. 
I observed that my Portuguese companions took 
quinine as a precaution. Formerly a few foreign 
merchants were settled here, but they found the 


A Trip to Calumbo. 39 

hot seasons fatal, and no wonder, with 1 30" (F.) in 
the shade ! The trade from the upper river, espe- 
cially from the Presidio das Pedras Negras de 
Pungo Andongo,* consists of hides, cattle tame and 
wild (cefos) ; saltpetre washed from earth in sieves, 
mucocote or gum anime (copal), said by Lopes de 
Lima to be found in all the forests of Pungo An- 
dongo ; wax, white and yellow ; oil of the dendSm 
{Eldis GuineeTisis) and mandobim, here called gin- 
gijba iarackis) ; mats, manioc -flour, and some- 
times ati ivory. 

Calumbo was built as early as 1577 by the Con- 
quistador Porcador and first Capit3o M6r Paulo 
Dias II., a gallant soldier, who died in 1589 at 
Massangano, the " Presidium," which he had 
founded between 1580-83, and who was buried in 
the Church of Na. Sa. da Vittoria ; he is said also to 
have built the Church of Santa Cruz. Equidis- 
tant from Loanda and the sea, the settlement soon 
had a wealthy trade with the fortified stations of 
the interior, and large Government stores filled 
with merchandize. In 1820 a number of schooners, 
pinnaces, and small crafts plied up and down to Mu- 
chimo, Massangano, Cambembe, and other inland 
settlements ; now we find out only a few canoes. 
TheCuanza at "Sleepers' Bay" hasone of the worst 

' See " The I-ands of the Cazembe," p. 1 5, Royal Geographi- 
cal Society, London, 1873. 


40 Poriuguese Hospitality. 

shifting bars on the whole coast At this distance, 
five leagues from the mouth, itswidth isone hundred 
fathoms, and the depth varies from eight to nine. 
It breeds good fish ; the manatus is common, 
people talk of fresh-water sharks, and the jacar^ 
(crocodile) is fatal to many a pig even in the vil- 
lage. It is navigable for schooners, they say, six 
days, or 150 miles, to the large "Presidio de 
Cambembe," where Andrew Battel (1589- 1600) 
visited a " perpendicular water-fall, which made 
such a noise as to be heard thirty miles' distance." 
This . and another water-fall higher up are laid 
down in the map of Dr. Livingstone's admirable 
first journey. Above Cambembe the river-bed is 
broken by archipelagoes, and the shoals render it 
fit only for boats. The Cuanza head has been ex- 
plored only lately, although a royal order to that 
effect was issued on March 14, 1800. 

After receiving and returning the visits of 
the principal whites, all habited in frocks and 
continuations of the blackest and heaviest broad- 
cloth, we feasted with the excellent commandant, 
who was hospitality itself. The mosquitoes soon 
roused us from any attempt at sleep, and we passed 
the night after a fashion which sometimes leads 
to red eyes and " hot coppers " in the morning, 
I left early, for my companions had business 
at Calumbo ; as they were no longer present to 
control the bearers, a race soft as putty, and I was 


Portuguese Hospitality , 41 

not used to manage them, the gang became un- 
bearable. The soldier sent to keep them in order 
did his best with his " supple-jack," and the con- 
sequence was that all bolted into the bush. At 
Caviia two men were forcibly enlisted, but I pre- 
ferred walking in. When at home in the Red 
House (Mr. Hewett's) the hammock men came 
complaining of my deserting them, and begging 

It was another lesson to me — the Gaboon had 
lately administered one— that, however well you 
may know the negro generally, each tribe requires 
a specific study. This, however, would not take 
long, and with a little knowledge of the language 
there would be no difficulty in following the foot- 
steps of Joaquim Rodrigues Graja ; letters would 
be required to the sevend commandants, the season 
of setting out should be in early Cacimbo (April), 
and the up march would take six months, with 
about four to return. But, unless active measures 
are adopted, only the seaboard will remain to the 
Portuguese. This is an exploration which I had 
kept " dark " for myself ; but Captain von Home- 
yer has gained the day, and nothing remains for 
me but to give the gallant officer God speed. 
After a short but exceedingly pleasant visit, I left 
the capital of Angola with regret All seemed 
anxious to further my views of travel ; the autho- 
rities gave me the very best advice, and offered 


42 Portuguese Hospitality. 

me introductions to all the district commandants, 
Sr. Moses Abecasis, and Sr. Francisco A. Flores, 
Sir Henry Huntley's host, obliged me with re- 
commendations to the most influential agents at 
Porto da Lenha on the Congo River. Mr. Essex 
of St. Helena placed me in the hands of his com- 
patriot, Mr. Scott, and Captain Hoskins, R.N., 
ended his kindness with ordering for me a passage 
on Ijioard H.M. Steamship "Griffon," an old ac- 
quaintance in the Gaboon River. Briefly, 1 quitted 
Sio Paulo with the best wishes for one and all 
who had befriended me. 




N August 22nd we left Loanda, and 
attacked the 180 miles separating it 
from the Congo mouth. Steaming 
along shore we enjoyed the vanishing 
perspective of the escarpment disappearing in the 
misty distance. The rivers Bengo, Dande, and 
Onze are denoted by densely wooded fissures 
breaking the natural sea-wall, and, as usual in 
West Africa, these lines are the favourite sites for 
settlements. The Onze or the Lifune of Mazula 
Bay — which the Hydrographic Chart (republished 
March 18, 1869) changes into " River Mazulo," 
and makes the mouth of the " River Onzo " — is 
chosen by Bowdich and writers of his day as the 
northern boundary of Angola, greatly to the dis- 
gust of the Portuguese, whose pretensions extend 
much farther north. Volumes of daily smoke and 


44 The Cruise along Shore. 

nightly flame suggest the fires of Sl John lighted 
by the goatherds of Tenerife. They greatiy excite 
the gallant " Griffons," who everywhere see slaver- 
signals, and the system is old upon this coast as 
the days of Hanno and Herodotus. At this 
season they are an infallible sign that the dries are 
ending ; the women burn the capim (tall grass) 
for future forage, and to manure the land for 
manioc, maize, and beans. The men seek present 
" bush-beef : " as the flames blow inland, they 
keep to seaward, knowing that game will instinc- 
tively and infallibly break cover in that direction, 
and they have learned the " wrinkle " of the prairie 
traveller to make a " little Zoar" in case of acci- 
dental conflagration. 

At 2 P.M. on the 24th we were abreast of Ambriz, 
an important settlement, where a tall red and white 
cliff, with a background of broken blue hill, showed 
a distinct "barra," or river mouth, not to be con- 
founded with the English " bar." The north 
point of the Rio dos Ambres, of the " green " or 
" raw copal," is low and mangrove-grown, throw- 
ing into high relief its sister formation, Ambriz 
Head or Strong-Tide Comer, which stands up 
gaunt and bluff. 

A little to the south-east lies the fort, flying the 
argent and azure flag, and garrisoned by some 
200 men ; five large whitewashed houses and the 
usual bunch of brown huts compose the settlement. 


The Cruise along Shore. 45 

This nest of slavers was temporarily occupied in 
May 15, 1855. The Governor-General, Sefior Co- 
elho de Amaral, reinforced by 1,000 soldiers from 
home, and levying 2,500 " Empacasseiros," ' em- 
barked from Loanda in the " Dom Fernando " fri- 
gate, landed here, once more burnt the barracoons, 
and built the fort. In 1856 a force was sent under 
Colonel Francisco Salles Ferreira, to re-open a 
communication with the Bembe mines of copper 
and malachite. That energetic officer marched 
on Sao Salvador, the old capital of Congo, and 
crowned Dom Pedro V., whose predecessor died 
the year before. He there fell a victim to fever, 
and his second in command, Major Andrade, was 
nearly cut off on his return. Shortly afterwjirds 
the natives blockaded, but were driven from, 
Bembe, and they attempted in vain to carry 

The far-famed copper mines were granted to the 
Portuguese in the sixteenth century by the King 
of Congo. They were the property of his feuda- 
tory, the (black) " Marquess of Pemba " (Bembe) : 
Barbot mentions their being mistaken for gold, and 
feels himself bound to warn his readers that the 

' See " The Lands of the Cazembe " (p. 25, note), where, 
however, the word has taken the form of " Impa^eiro." At p. 
27, line 6, a parenthesis has been misplaced before and after 
" Iropakncas," a word differently interpreted by Portuguese 


46 The Cruise along Shore. 

metal was brought "from Sondy, not from Abys- 
sinia or the empire of Prester John." They lost 
all their mystery about a.d. 1855, when they were 
undertaken by an English company, Messrs. John 
Taylor & Co. of London, after ^reement with the 
concessionists, Messrs. Francisco A. Flores and 
Pinto Perez of Loanda. Between Ambriz and 
Bembe, on the Lunguila {Lufula ?) River, and 770 
feet above sea-level, the Angolan government 
built four presidios, Matuta, Quidilla, Quileala, and 
Quimalenijo. But the garrison was not strong 
enough to keep the country quiet, and the climate- 
proved deadly to white men. The 24 sappers 
and 60 linesmen extracted nearly 4,000 lbs. of 
gangue per diem, when the English manager and 
his assistant, with four of the ten miners died, and 
the plant was destroyed by fire. I was assured 
that this line (Ambriz-Bembe) was an easy adit 
to the interior, and so far the information is con- 
firmed: by the late Livingstone-Congo Expedition 
under Lieutenant Grandy. 

In 1863 the coast was still in confusion. The 
Portuguese claimed too much seaboard according 
to the British : the British government ignored the 
just claims of Portugal, and the political bickerings 
were duly embittered by a demoralized race of 
English traders, who perpetually applied for 
cruisers, complaining that the troops interfered with 
their trade. Even in the seventeenth century the 


The Cruise along Shore. 47 

Portuguese had asserted their rights to the Reino 
do Congo, extending between the great stream of 
that name and the Ambriz, also called the Loge 
andDoce River. In the older maps — for instance. 
Lopes de Lima — the Loge is an independent stream 
placed north of the Ambriz River ; in fact, it re- 
presents the Rue or Lue River of Kinsembo, which 
is unknown to our charts. Within the Doce and 
the Cuanza lies the Reino de Angola, of which, 
they say, the Congo was a dependency, and south 
of the Cuanza begins the Reino de Benguela. The 
Government-General of Loanda thus contained 
four provinces — Congo (now reduced to Ambriz), 
Angola, Benguela, and Mossamedes. The English 
government has now agreed to recognize the 
left or southern bank of the Ambriz as the 
northern frontier of Angola and of Portuguese 

Passing the river mouth, we were alongside of 
independent lands, and new to us. Boobies {Pele- 
canus sula), gulls, petrels, and men-of-war birds 
[P. aquild), flew about the ship ; according to 
the experts, they were bound for fetid marshes 
which outlie the Loge River. Before nightfall we 
were off the Lue or Rue River of Kinsembo, which 
disputes with Landina (not "Landano"') the 
palm of bad landing. At this season boats are 

• The Directory and Charts. 


48 The Granite Pillar of Kinsembo, 

sometimes kept waiting fourteen days, and the 
" barreiras " (cliffs) are everywhere at unbounded 
war with the waters. I determined to land and 
to inspect the " remarkable lofty granite pillar," 
which was dimly visible from our deck ; but we 
rowed in vatn along the tall and rusty sea-walls. 
No whaler could attack the huge rollers that raised 
their monstrous backs, plunged over with a furious 
roar, and bespread the beach with a swirl of foam. 
At last, seeing a fine surf-boat, artistically raised at 
stem and bow, and manned by Cabindas, the Kru- 
boys of the coast, made fast to a ship belonging to 
Messrs. Tobin of Liverpool, we boarded it, and 
obtained a passage. 

The negroes showed their usual art. Paddling 
westward they rounded the high red and white 
South Point, where a projecting reef broke the 
rollers. We waited for some twenty minutes for 
a lull ; at the auspicious moment every throat 
was strained by a screaming shout, and the black 
backs bent doughtily to their work. We were 
raised like infants in the nurse's arms ; the good 
craft was flung forward with the seething mass, 
and as she touched shore we sprang out, whilst 
our conveyance was beached by a crowd of strag- 
glers. The dreaded bar is as usual double : in 
the heaviest weather boats make for a solitary 
palm-tree at the bottom of the sandy bay. Some 
of the dug-outs are in pairs like the Brazilian 


The Granite Pillar of Kinsembo. 49 

Ajoujo ; the sides are lashed together or fastened 
by thwarts, and both are made to bend a little 
too much inwards. 

It was dark when we climbed up the stiff Jacob's 
ladder along the landward side of the white Kin- 
sembo bluff. There are three ramps : the outer- 
most is fit only for unshod feet; the central is 
better for those who can squeeze through the 
rocky crevices, and the furthest is tolerably easy ; 
but it can be reached only by canoeing across the 
stream, Mr. Hunter of Messrs. Tobin's house re- 
ceived us in the usual factory of the South Coast, 
a ground-floor of wicker-work, windowless, and 
thatched after native fashion. The chief agent, 
who shall be nameless, was drunk and disorderly : 
it is astonishing that men of business can trust 
their money to such irresponsible beings ; he had 
come out to Blackland a teetotaller, and presently 
his condition became a living lecture upon geo- 
graphical morality. 

The night gave us a fine study of the Kinsembo 
mosquito, a large brown dipter, celebrated even 
upon this coast. A barrel of water will act as 
nursery ; at times the plagues are said to extin- 
guish a lantern, and to lie an inch deep at the 
bottom. I would back them against a man's life 
after two nights of full exposure ; the Brazilian 
" Marimbondo" is not worse. At 7 a.m. on the next 
day we descended the easiest of the ramps, which 


50 Tfie Granite Pillar of Kinsembd. 

are common upon this coast, and " were paddleU 
over the Kinsembo River. Eleven miles off, it 
issues from masses of high ground, and at this 
season It spreads out Uke the Ambriz in broad 
stagnant sheets, bordered with reeds and grass 
supplying fish and crabs, wild ducks and mos- 
quitoes. Presently, when the Cacimbo ends in 
stormy rains and horrid rollers, its increased 
volume and impetus will burst the sand-strip which 
confines it, afid the washed-away material will tct 
cruit the terrible bar. 

Leaving the ferry, we mounted the " tipoias," 
■which Englishmen call "hammocks" after the 
Caribs of Jamaica, and I foundastrange contrast be- 
tween the men of Kinsembo and of S5o Paulo. The 
former are admirable bearers, like their brethren 
of Ambrizette, famed as the cream of the coast : 
four of them carried us at the rate of at least six 
miles an hour ; apparently they cannot go slowly, 
and they are untireable as black ants. Like the 
Bahian cadeira-men, they use shoulder-pads, and 
forked sticks to act as levers when shifting ; the 
bamboo-pole has ivory pegs, to prevent the ham- 
mock-clews slipping, and the sensation is some- 
what that of being tossed in a blanket. 

Quitting the creeper-bound sand, we crossed a 
black and fetid mire, and struck inland to a higher 
and drier level. The vegetation was that of the 
Calumbo road, but not so utterly sunburnt : there 


The Granite Pillar of Kinscmbo. 5 1 

were dwarf fields of Manioc and Thur (Cajanus 
indicus), and the large wild cotton shrubs showed 
balls of shortish fibre. As we passed a euphorbia- 
hedged settlement, Kiz6U yd Mii, " Seabeach 
-Vill^e," a troop of women and girls, noisy as 
those of Ugogo, charged us at full gallop : a few 
silver bits caused prodigious excitement in the 
Jiberal display of charms agitated by hard exercise. 
The men were far less intrusive, they are said not 
to be jealous of European rivals, but madly so 
amongst themselves : even on suspicion of injury, 
the husband may kill his wife and her lover. 

At Kilwanika, the next hamlet, there was a 
"king;", and it would not have been decent to 
pass the palace unvisited. Outside the huts stood 
a bamboo-girt " compound," which we visited 
whilst H.M. was making his toilette, and where, 
contrary to Congo usage, the women entered with 
us. Twenty-two boys aged nine or ten showed, 
by faces whitened with ashes, that they had under- 
gone circumcision, a ceremony which lasts three 
months : we shall find these Jinkimba in a far 
wilder state up the Congo. The rival house is 
the Casa das Tinta, where nubile girls are deco- 
rated by the Nganga, or medicine-man, with a 
greasy crimson-purple pigment and, preparatory 
to entering the holy state of matrimony, receive 
an exhaustive lecture upon its physical phases. 
Father Merolla tells us that the Congoese girls 


52 The Gramie Pillar of Kinsentbo. 

are locked up in pairs for two or three months out 
of the sight of man, bathing several times a day, 
and applying " tacuUa," the moistened dust of a 
red wood ; without this " casket of water " or " of 
fire," as they call it, barrenness would be their lot. 
After betrothal the bride was painted red by the 
" man-witch " for one month, to declare her engage- 
ment, and the mask was washed off before nuptials. 
Hence the " Paint House" was a very abomina- 
tion to the good Fathers. Amongst the Timni 
tribe, near Sierra Leone, the Semo, or initiation for 
girls, begins with a great dance, called Coiungee 
(Kolangi), and the bride is " instructed formally 
in such circumstances as most immediately concern 

After halting for half an hour, ringed by a fence 
of blacks, we were summoned to the presence, 
where we found a small boy backed by a semi- 
circle of elders, and adorned with an old livery 
coat, made for a full-grown " Jeames." With im- 
mense dignity, and without deigning to look at us, 
he extended a small black paw like a Chimpanzee's, 
and received In return a promise of rum — the sole 
cause of our detention. And, as we departed 
through the euphorbia avenue, we were followed 
by the fastest trotters, the Flora Temples and the 
Ethan Aliens, of the village. 

Beyond Kiiwanika the land became rougher 
and drier, whilst the swamps between the ground- 


The Granite Pillar of Kinsentbo. 53 

waves were deeper and stickier* the higher 
ridges bearing natural Stonehenges, of African, not 
English, proportions. At last we dismounted, 
ascended a rise, the most northerly of these 

" Aravat Hills," and stood at the base of the 
" Lumba." The Pillar of Kinsembo is composed 
of two huge blocks, not basaltic, but of coarse- 
grained reddish granite : the base measures twenty 
and the shaft forty feet high. With a little trim- 
ming it might be converted into a superior 


54 The Granite Pillar of Kinsembo. 

Pompey's Pillar: we shall see many of these mono- 
liths in different parts of the Congo countrjf. 

The heat of the day was passed in the shade of 
the Lumba, enjoying the sea-breeze and the novel 
view. It was debated whether we should re- 
turn vid Masera, a well-known slaving village, 
whose barracoons were still standing. But the 
bearers dissuaded us, declaring that they might be 
seized as "dash," unless the white men paid heavy 
"comey" like those who shipped black cargoes: 
they cannot shake off this old practice of claiming 
transit money. So we returned without a halt, 
covering some twelve of the roughest miles in two 
hours and a quarter. 

The morning of the 26th showed an ugly sight 
from the tali Kinsembo cliff. As far as the eye 
could reach long green-black lines, fronted and 
feathered with frosted foam, hurried up to the war 
with loud merciless roars, and dashed themselves 
in white destruction against the reefs and rock- 
walls. We did not escape till the next day. 

Kinsembo does not appear upon the old maps, 
and our earliest hydrographic charts place it six 
miles wrong.' The station was created in 1857-61 
by the mistaken policy of Loanda, which deter- 
mined to increase the customs three per cent, and 

• That of the Hydrographic Office, dated 1863, assigns it to 
S. Lat. 7° 44', and E. Long. 13° 5'; and the Granite Pillar to 
S, Lat. 7° 36' 15", and E. I^ng. 13° 6' 30''. 


The Granite Pillar of Kinsembo. 55 

talked of exacting duties at Ambriz, not according 
to invoice prices, but upon the value which im- 
ported goods represented amongst the natives. 
It was at once spread abroad that the object was 
to drive the wax and ivory trade to S3a Paulo, 
and to leave Ambriz open to slavers. The irre- 
pressible Briton transferred himself to Kinsembo, 
and agreed to pay the king ^9 in kind, after 
"country fashion," for every ship. In 1857 the 
building of the new factories was opposed by the 
Portuguese, and was supported by English naval 
officers, till the two governments came to an 
arrangement In February, i860, the Kinsembo 
people seized an English factory, and foully mur- 
dered a Congo prince and Portuguese - subject, 
D. NicoHo de Agua Rosada, employed in the 
Treasury Department, Ambriz. Thereupon the 
Governor-General sent up two vessels, with thirty 
guns and troops ; crossed the Loge River, now a 
casus belli; and, on March 3rd, burned down the 
inland town of Kinsembo. On the return march 
the column debouched upon the foreign factories. 
About one mile in front of the point, Captain 
Brent, U.S. Navy, and Commander A. G. Fitzroy, 
R.N., had drawn up 120 of their men by way of 
guard. Leave was asked by the Portuguese to 
refresh their troops, and to house six or seven 
wounded men. The foreign agents, headed by a 
disreputable M — M — , now dead, protested, and, 


56 The Granite Pillar of Kinsentbo. 

after receiving this unsoldierlike refusal, the Portu- 
guese, harassed by the enemy, continued their 
return march to Ambriz. The natives of this 
country have an insane hate for their former con- 
querors, and can hardly explain why; probably 
the cruelties of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, not peculiar to the Lusitanians, have 
rankled in the national memory. A stray Portu- 
guese would infallibly be put to death, and it will, 
I fear, be long before M. Valdez sees " spontaneous 
declarations of vassalage on the part of the King 
of Molembo (Malemba) and others." 

In i860 the trade of Kinsembo amounted to 
some ;^50,ooo, divided amongst four houses, two 
English, one American, and one Rotterdam 
(Pencoff and Kerdyk). The Cassange war greatly 
benefited the new station by diverting coffee and 
other produce of the interior from Loanda. There 
are apochryphal tales of giant tusks brought 
from a five months' journey, say 500 miles, in- 
land. I was shown two species of copal (gum 
anime) of which the best is said to come from the 
Mosul country up the Ambriz River : one bore 
the goose-skin of Zanzibar, and I was assured that 
it does not viscidize in the potash-wash. The 
other was smooth as if it had freshly fallen from 
the tree. It was impossible to obtain any in- 
formation ; no one had been up country to see the 
diggings, and yet all declared that the interior was 


Tlu Granite Pillar of Kinsembo. 57 

open ; that it would be easy to strike the Coango 
(Quango) before it joins the Congo River, and 
that 1 50 miles, which we may perhaps reduce by 
a third, would lodge the traveller in the unknown 
lands of" Hnga." 

Bidding kindly adieu to Mr. Hunter and wish- 
ing him speedy deliverance from his dreadful 
companion, we resumed our travel over the now 
tranquil main. Always to starboard remained the 
narrow sea-wall, a length without breadth which 
we had seen after the lowlands of Cape Lopez, 
coloured rosy, rusty-red, or white, and sometimes 
backed by a second sierra of low blue rises, which 
suggests the sanatorium. Forty miles showed us 
the tall trees of Point Palmas on the northern side 
of the Conza River ; on the south of the gap-like 
mouth lies the Ambrizette settlement, with large 
factories, Portuguese and American, gleaming 
against the dark verdure, and with Conza Hill 
for a background. The Cabe^a de Cobra, or 
" Maigate Head," led to Makula, alias Mangal, 
or Mangue Grande, lately a clump of trees and 
a point ; now the site of English, American, and 
Dutch factories. Here the hydrographic charts 
of 1827 and 1863 greatly vary, and one has 
countermarched the coast-line some 75 miles ; 
Spinning with the Congo River, it lays down 
Mangue Pegueno (where Grande should be), 
Cobra, and Mangue Grande (for Pequeno) close to 


58 The Granite Pillar of Kinsembo. 

Ambrizette. Then hard ahead rose Cape En- 
gano, whose "deceit" is a rufous tint, which causes 
many to mistake it for Cape or Point Padrao. 
To-morrow, as the dark-green waters tell us, we 
shall be in the Congo River. 



shark's point. — THE PADRAO AND PINDA. 

SHE best preparation for a first glance 
at the Congo River is to do as all do, 
to study the quaint description which 
old Purchas borrowed from the "Chro- 
nica da Companhia de Jesus em Portugal." 

" The Zaire is of such force that no ship can 
get in against the current but near to the shore; 
yea, it prevails against the ocean's saltness three- 
score, and as some say, four-score miles within 
the sea, before his proud waves yield their 
full hom^e, and receive that salt temper in 
token of subjection. Such is the haughty spirit 
of that stream, overrunning the low countries 
as it passeth, and swollen with conceit of daily 
conquests and daily supplies, which, in armies 
of showers, are, by the clouds, sent to his suc- 
cour, runnes now in a furious rage, thinking 


6o Into the Congo River. 

evefi to swallow the ocean, which before he never 
saw, with his mouth wide gaping eight-and-twenty 
miles, as Lopez* affirnieth, in the opening; but 
meeting with a more giant-like enemie which lies 
lurking under the cliffes to receive his assault, is 
presently swallowed in that wider womb, yet so 
as, always being conquered, he never gives over, 
but in an etemall quarrel, with deeper and in- 
dented frownes in his angry face, foaming with 
disdaine, and filling the aire with noise (with fresh 
helpe), supplies those forces which the salt sea 
hath consumed." 

I was disappointed after the Gambia and Ga- 
boon rivers in the approach to the Congo. About 
eight miles south of the mouth the green sea 
changed to a clear brown which will be red during 
the flood. Some three degrees (F. 79° to 82") cooler 
than the salt tide, the lighter water, which was fresh 
as rain, feathered out like a fan ; a rippling noise was 
faintly audible, and the clear lines of white foam 
had not time to melt into the coloured efflux. 
The flow was diverted into a regular curve north- 
wards by the South Atlantic current; voy^ers 
from Ascension Island to the north-west therefore 
feel the full throb of the great riverine pulse, and 

' Duarte Lopez, the Portuguese Captain, whose journals were 
used by Pigafetta He went to the Congo regions in 1578, 
and stayed there ten years. " Philipp's Voyages," vol. lil. p. 


Into the Congo River. 6i 

it has been recognized, they say, at a distance of 
300 miles. Lopez, MerolIa,and Dapper' agree that 
the Congo freshens the water at thirty miles from 
the mouth, and that it can be distinguished thirty 
le^es off. The Amazonas tinges the sea along 
the Guiana coast 200 miles, and the effect of the 
Ganges extends to about twenty leagues. At this 
season, of course, we saw none of the floating 
islands which during the rains sail out sixty to 
seventy leagues from land. " Tuckey's Expedi- 
tion" informs us, that the Hon. Captain Irby, 
H.M.S. " Amelia," when anchored twelve miles 
from the South Point, in fifteen fathoms, " observed 
on the ocean large floating islands covered with 
trees and bushes, which had been torn from the 
banks by the violent current" The Journal of 
Captain Scobell, H.M.S. "Thais," remarks: "In 
crossing this stream I met several floating islands 
or broken masses from the banks of that noble 
river." We shall find them higher up the bed, 
only forming as the inundation begins ; I doubt, 
however, that at any time they equal the meadows 
which stud the mouth of the Rio Formoso {Benin 

Historic Point PadrSo, the " Mouta Seca," or 
Dry Bush, of the modem Portuguese, showed no 
signs of hospitality. The fierce rollers of the 

' " Philipp's Voyages," vol. iii. p. 236. 


62 Into i/ie Congo River. 

spumous sea broke and recoiled, foaming upon the 
sandy beach, which they veiled with a haze of 
water-dtist, almost concealing the smoke that 
curled from the mangrove-hedged " King Antonio's 
Town." Then, steaming to the north-east, we ran 
five miles to Turtle Cove, formerly Turtle Comer, 
a shallow bay, whose nearest point is " Twitty 
Twa Bush." the baptismal effort of some English 
trader. And now appeared the full gape of the 
Congo mouth, yawning seven sea-miles wide ; the 
further shore trending to the north-west in a low 
blue line, where Moanda and Vista, small " ship- 
ping-ports" for slaves, were hardly visible in the 
hazy air. As we passed the projecting tooth of 
Shark Point, a sandspit garnished with mangroves 
and dotted with palmyras, the land-squall flocked 
from their dirty-brown thatches to the beach, 
where flew the symbolic red flag. Unlike most 
other settlements, which are so buried in almost 
impenetrable bush that the traveller may pass by 
within a few yards without other sign but the 
human voice, this den of thieves and wreckers, 
justly named in more ways than one, flaunts itself 
in the face of day. 

The Congo disclaims a bore, but it has a very 
distinct bar, the angle pointing up stream, and the 
legs beginning about Bananal Bank (N.) and 
Alligator River (S.). Here the great depth above 
and below (145 and 112 fathoms) shallows to 6-9. 


Into ilie Congo River. 63 

Despfte the five-knot current we were " courteously 
received into the embraces of the river;" H.M. 
Steamship " Griffon " wanted no " commanding 
sea-hreeze," she found none of the difficulties which 
kept poor Tuckey's " brute of a transport " drifting 
and driving for nearly a . week before he could 
anchor off Fuma or Sherwood's Creek, the " Me- 
dusa" of modern charts (?) and which made Shark 
Point, with its three-mile current, a "more re- 
doubtable promontory than that of Good Hope 
was to early navigators." We stood boldly E.N.E, 
towards the high blue clump known as Bulam- 
bemba, and, with the dirty yellow breakers of 
Mwdnd Mazia Bank far to port, we turned north 
to Prench Point, and anchored in a safe bottom of 
seven fathoms. 

Here we at once saw the origin of the popular 
opinion that the Congo has no delta. On both 
sides, the old river valley, 32 miles broad, is marked 
out by grassy hills rolling about 200 feet high, 
trending from E.N.E. to W.S.W., and forming on 
the right bank an acute angle with the Ghats. 
But, whilst the northern line approaches within 
five or six mites, the southern bank, which diverges 
about the place where "King Plonly's town "ap- 
pears in charts, sweeps away some seventeen miles 
down coast," and leaves a wide tract of mangrove 
swamps. These, according to the Portuguese 
traders, who have their own plans of the river, 


64 The Factories. 

extend some seventy miles south to Ambrizette : 
slavers keep all such details very close, and 
doubtless for good reasons — " short-cuts " greatly 
facilitate shipping negroes. The lesser Congo 
delta is bounded north by the Banana or Malela 
stream, whose lower fork is "Pirates' Creek;" 
and south by the mangrove-clad drains, which 
subtend the main line : the base measures 
12-15 niiles. At the highest station, Boma, I 
shall have something to say about the gfreater 
delta. The left bank of the embouchure projects 
further seaward, making it look " under hung," 
representing in charts a lower jaw, and the projec- 
tion of Shark Point the teeth, en profile. 

My first care was to collect news at the factories. 
French Point is a long low spit, which supports 
two establishments where the chart (September 
1859) gives " Emigration Depot" It is the old 
Banana Point, and probably the older Palmeirinha 
Point of James Barbot, who places it in the terri- 
tory of Goy (Ngoy), now Cabinda. This part has 
greatly changed since 1859; either the Banana 
River requires removing two miles to the north, or 
French Point must be placed an equal distance 
south. The principal establishment, M. Regis' of 
Marseilles, Is built in his best style ; a two-storied 
and brilliantly "chunam'd" house, containing a 
shop and store on the ground-floor, defended by 
a three-pounder. Behind it a square "compound," 


The Factories. 65 

with h^h walls, guards the offices and the other 
requisites of a barracoon. It is f^nted by a little 
village where " Laptots," Senegal Moslems, and 
men-at-arms live with their families and slaves. 
In the rear stands the far more modest and con- 
scientious establishment of Messrs. PencofF and 
Kerdyk : their plank bungalow is full of work, 
whilst the other lies idle; so virtue here is not, as 
in books, its own reward. 

M. Victor Parrot, the young Swiss agent of M. 
R^gis, hospitably asked us to take up our quarters 
with him, and promised to start us up stream 
without delay ; his employer fixes the tariff of 
every article, and no discretion is left to the sub- 
ordinates. We called upon M. Elkman of the 
Dutch factory. His is a well-known name on the 
river, and, though familiar with the people, he has 
more than once run some personal risk by assisting 
our cruizers to make captures. He advised us to 
lose no time in setting out before the impending 
rains : I wanted, however, a slight preparation for 
travel, and determined to see something of the 
adjoining villages, especially the site of the historic 

Whilst crossing the stream, we easily under- 
stood how the river was supposed to be in a per- 
petual state of inundation. The great breadth and 
the shallows near either jaw prevent the rain- 
floods being perceptible unless instruments are used, 


66 The Factories. 

and " hydrometry," still in an imperfect state, was 
little to be depended upon in the days when Euro- 
pean ideas concerning the Congo River were 
formed. Twenty miles up stream the high-water 
mark becomes strongly marked, and further on, as 
will be seen, it shows even better. 

If Barbot's map have any claim to correctness, 
the southern shore has changed greatly since a.d. 
1 700. A straight line from Cape PadrSoto Chap^ 
Point, now Shark Point, was more than double 
the breadth of the embouchure. It is vain to 
seek for the " Island of Calabes " mentioned by 
Andrew Battel, who was " sent to a place called 
Zaire on the River Congo, to trade for elephants' 
teeth, wheat, and palm oil." It may be a mistake 
for Cavallos, noticed in the next chapter ; ' but the 
" town on it " must have been small, and has left, 
they say, no traces. After a scramble through the 
surf, we were received at Shark Point, where, at 
this season, the current is nearer five than three 
knots, by Mr. Tom Peter, Mafuka, or chief trader, 
amongst these " Musunmgus." He bore his 
highly respectable name upon the frontal band of 
his " berretta," alias " cor6a," an open-worked aifair, 
very like the old-fashioned jelly-bag night-cap. 
This head-gear of office made of pine-apple fibre — 
Tuckey says grass — costs ten shillings ; it is worn 
by the kinglets, who now distribute it to all the 
lieges whose fortunes exceed some fifty dollars. 


Trip to S /lark's Poinl. 67 

Most of the Squaline villagers appeared to be 
womea, the men being engaged in making money 
elsewhere. Besides illicit trade, which has now 
become very dangerous, a little is done in the licit 
line : grotesquely carved sticks, calabashes rudely 
ornamented with ships and human figures, the 
neat bead-work grass-strings used by the women 
to depress the bosom, and cashimbos or pipes mostly 
made about Boma. All were re-baptized in 1853, 
but they show no sign of Christianity save crosses, 
and they are the only prostitutes on the river. 

Following Tom Peter, and followed by a noisy 
tail, we walked to the west end of Shark Point, 
to see if aught remained of the Padrlio, the first 
memorial column, planted in 1485 by the explorer 
Di<^o Cam, knight of the king's household, Dom 
JoSo II. " O principe perfeito," who, says De 
Barros ("Asia," Decad. I. lib. iii. chap. 3), "to im- 
mortalize the rtiemory of his captains," directed 
them to plant these pillars in all remarkable places. 
The Padr5es, which before the reign of D. JoSo 
were only wooden crosses, assumed the shape of 
" columns, twice the height of a man (estado), with 
the scutcheon bearing the royal arms. At the 
sides they were to be inscribed in Latin and Portu- 
guese (to which James Barbot adds Arabic), with 
the name of the monarch who sent the expedition, 
the date of discovery, and the captain who made 
it ; on the summit was to be raised a stone cross 


68 Trip to Shark's Point. 

cramped in with lead." According to others, the 
inscription mentioned only the date, the king, and 
■ the captain. The PadrSo of the Congo was espe- 
cially called from the " Lord of Guinea's favourite 
saint, de SSo Jorge"— sit faustum ! As Carli 
shows, the patron of Congo and Angola was San- 
tiago, who was seen bodily assisting at a battle in 
which Dom Affonso, son of Giovi (Emmanuel), 
first Christian king of Congo, prevailed against a 
mighty host of idolaters headed by his pagan 
brother " Panso Aquitimo." In 1786 Sir Home 
Popham found a marble cross on a rock near 
Angra dos Ilheos or Pequena (south latitude 26° 
37'), with the arms of Portugal almost eflfaced. 
Till lately the jasper pillar at Cabo Negro bore 
the national arms. Doubtless much latitude was 
allowed in the make and material of these padrSes; 
that which I saw near Cananea in the Brazil is of 
saccharine marble, four palms high by two broad ; 
it bears a scutcheon charged with a cross and sur- 
mounted by another. 

There is some doubt concerning the date of this 
mission. De Barros(I. iii. 3)saysA.D. 1484. Lopes 
de Limn (IV. i. 5) gives the reason why a.d. 1485 
is generally adopted, and he believes that the 
cruise of the previous year did not lead to the 
Congo River. The explorer, proceeding to inspect 
the coast south of Cape St. Catherine (south lati- 
tude 2** 30'), which he had discovered in 1473, set 


Tnp to Shark's Point. 69 

out from S3o Jorge da Mina, now Elmina. He 
was accompanied by Martin von Behaim of NUm- 
berg {nat circ a.d. 1436, ob. a.d. 1506), a pupil of 
the mathematidan John MuHer (Regiomontanus) ; 
and for whom the discovery of the New World 
has been claimed. 

After doubling his last year's terminus, Diogo 
Cam chanced upon a vast embouchure, and, sur- 
prised by the beauty of the scenery and the volume 
of the stream, he erected his stone FadrSo, the first 
of its kind. Finding the people unintelligible to 
the interpreters, he sent four of his men with a 
present of hawk's bells (cascaveis) and blue glass 
beads to the nearest king, and, as they did not soon 
return, he sailed back to Portugal with an equal 
number of natives as hostages, promising to return 
after fifteen moons. One of them, Ca^uta (Zacuten 
of Barbot), proved to be a " fidalgo " of Sonho, 
and, though the procedure was contrary to orders, 
it found favour with the " Perfect Prince." From 
these men the Portuguese learned that the land be- 
longed to a great monarch named the Mwani- 
Congo or Lord of Congo, and thus they gave the 
river a name unknown to the riverine peoples. 

Diogo Cam, on his second visit, sent presents 
to the ruler with the hostages, who had learned 
as much Portug^uese and Christianity as the time 
allowed ; recovered his own men, and passed on 
to Angola, Benguela and Cabo Negro, adding to his 



70 Trip to Shark's Point. 

discoveries 200 leagues of coast When homeward 
bound, he met the Mwani-Sonho, and visited the 
Mwani-Congo, who lived at Ambasse Congo (S5o 
Salvador), distant 50 leagues (?). The ruler of 
the "great and wonderful River Zaire," touched 
by his words, sent with him sundry youths, and 
the lidalgo Caquta, who was baptized into Dom 
Jo3o, to receive instruction, and to offer a present 
of ivory and of palm cloth which was remarkably 
strong and bright. A request for a supply of 
mechanics and missionaries brought out the first 
mission of Dominicans. They sailed in December, 
1 490, under Gonjalo de Sousa ; they were followed 
by others, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries the country was fairly over-run by 
the Propaganda. A future page will enter 
into more details, and show the results of their 

The original PadrSo was destroyed by the 
Dutch in 1645, an act of barbarism which is justly 
called " Vandalica fa^anha." Father Merolla says 
(1682), " The Hollanders, out of envy, broke 
the fine marble cross to pieces ; nevertheless, 
so much remained of it, when I was there, as to 
discover plainly the Portuguese arms on the ruins 
of the basis, with an inscription under them in 
Gothic characters, though not easy to be read." 
In 1859 a new one was placed in Turtle Cove, a 
few yards south-west of Shark Point ; but the re- 


The Padrao and Pinda. j\ 

cord was swept away by an unusually high tide, 
and no further attempt has been made. 

We were then led down a sandy narrow line in 
the bush, striking south-east, and, after a few yards, 
we stood before two pieces of marble in a sandy 
hollow. The tropical climate, more adverse than 
that of London, had bleached and marked them 
till they looked like pitted chalk ; the larger stump, 
about two feet high, was bandaged, as if after 
amputation, with cloths of many colours, and the 
other fragment lay at its feet. Tom Peter, in a 
fearful lingua- Franca, Negro-Anglo- Portuguese, 
told us that his people still venerated the place as 
part of a religious building ; it is probably the 
remnant thus alluded to by Lopes de Lima 
(iii. 1-6) : " Behind this point (Padrao) is another 
monument of the piety of our monarchs, and of 
the holy objects which guided them to the con- 
quest of Guinea, a Capuchin convent intended 
to convert the negroes of Sonho ; it has long been 
deserted, and is still so. Even in a.d. 1814, D. 
Garcia V., the king of Congo, complained in a 
letter to our sovereign of the want of missionaries." 
Possibly the ruined convent is the church which 
we shall presently visit Striking eastward, we 
soon came to a pool in the "bush sufficiently 
curious and out of place to make the natives hold 
it "Fetish;" they declare that it is full offish, 
but it kills all men who enter it — "all men" 


72 The Padrao and Pinda. 

would not include white men. Possibly it is an 
old piscina ; according to the AbW Proyart, the 
missionaries taught the art of pisciculture near 
the village of Kilonga, where they formed their 
first establishment. The place is marked " Salt- 
pond" in Barbot, who tells us that the condiment 
was made there and carried inland. 

A short walk to a tall tree backing the village 
showed us, amongst twenty-five European graves, 
five tombs or cenotaphs of English naval officers, 
amongst whom two fell victims to mangrove- 
oysters, and the rest to the deadly " calenture " of 
the lower Congo. We entered the foul mass of 

" Domus non uUo robore fulta 
Sed steiili junco cansfique intecta palustrL" 

It was too early for the daily debauch of palm 
wine, and the interiors reeked with the odours of 
nocturnal palm oil. The older travellers were 
certainly not blasis; they seemed to find plea- 
sure and beauty wherever they looked : Ca da 
Mosto (1455), visiting .the Senegal, detected in 
this graveolent substance, fit only for wheel-axles, 
a threefold property, that of smelling like violets, 
of tasting like oil of olives, and tinging victuals 
like saffron, with a colour still finer. Even 
^Mungo Park preferred the rancid tallow-like shea 
butter to the best product of the cow. We chatted 


The Padrao and Pinda. 73 

with the Shark Point wreckers, and found that 
they thought like Arthegal, 

" For equal right in eqnal things doth stand" 

Moreover, here, as in the Shetlands of the early 
nineteenth century, when the keel touches bottom 
the seaman loses his rights, and she belongs to the 

Tom Peter offered to show us other relics of 
the past if we would give him two days. A little 
party was soon made up, Mr. J. C. Bigley, the 
master, and Mr. Richards, the excellent gunner of 
the "Griffon," were my companions. We set out 
in a south-by-easterly direction to the bottom 
of Sonho, or Diogo's Bay, which Barbot calls " Bay 
of Pampus Rock." Thence we entered Alligator 
River, a broad lagoon, the Raphael Creek of 
Maxwell's map, not named in the hydrographic 
chart of 1859. Leading south with many a bend, 
it is black water and thick, fetid mud, garnished 
with scrubby mangrove, where Kru-boys come to 
cut fuel and catch fever ; here the dew seemed to 
fall in cold drops. After nine miles we reached 
a shallow fork, one tine of which, according to 
our informants, comes from the Congo Grande, 
or SSo Salvador, distant a week's march. Leaving 
the whaler in charge of a Kru-man, we landed, 
and walked about half a mile over loose sand 
bound by pine-apple root, to the Banza Sonho, 


74 The Padrao and Pinda. 

or, as we call it, King Antonio's Town — not to be 
mistaken for that placed in the charts behind 
Point Padron. Our object being unknown, there 
was fearful excitement in the thatched huts scat- 
tered under the palm grove, till Tom Peter intro- 
duced us, and cleared for us a decent hut The 
buildings, if they can be so called, are poor and 
ragged, copies of those which we shall see upon 
die uplands. Presently we were visited by the 
king named after that saint " of whom the Evil 
One was parlous afraid." This descendant of the 
"Counts of Sonho," in his dirty night-cap and 
long coat of stained red cloth, was a curious con- 
trast to the former splendour of the " count's habit," 
with cap of stitched silk which could be worn only 
by him and his nobles, fine linen shirt, flowered 
silk cloak, and yellow stockings of the same material . 
When King Affonso III. gave audience to the 
missioners (a.d. 1646), the negro grandee " had 
on a vest of cloth set with precious stones, and 
in his hat a crown of diamonds, besides other 
stones of great value. He sat on a chair under a 
canopy of rich crimson velvet, with gilt nails, after 
the manner of Europe ; and under his feet was a 
great carpet, with two stools of the same colour, 
and silk laced with gold." After the usual palaver 
we gave the black earl a cloth and bottle of rum 
for leave to pass on, but no one would accompany 
us that evening, all pretending that they wanted 


The Padrao and Pinda. 75 

time to fit up the hammocks. At n^ht a body of 
armed bushmen marched down to inspect us. 

The demands for porterage were so exorbitant 
next morning, that we set out on foot under the 
guidance of Tom Peter. We passed southwards 
over large tracts of bush and gramineous plants, 
with patches of small plantations, manioc and 
thur; and settlements girt by calabash-trees, 
cocoas, palmyra and oil palms. The people poured 
out threatened impotent vengeance on those who 
brought the white men to " make their country," 
that is, to seize and settle in it. The only animals 
were fowls and pigs ; small strong cages acting as 
hogstyes showed that leopards were dangerous ; 
in 18 16 Lieutenant Hawkey found signs <^ these 
animals, tc^ther with elephant, wild boar, and 
antelope. Now there is no sport below the cata- 
racts, and possibly very little, except in the water, 
above them. Thence we debouched upon rolling 
land, loose and sandy waves, sometimes divided 
by swamps ; it is the lower end of the high yellow 
band seen from the south of the river, the true 
coast of alluvial soil, scattered here and there with 
quartz and pebbles. Then the bush opened out, and 
showed to the north-east stretches of grassy land, 
where the wild fig-tree drooped its branches, 
laden with thick fleshy leafage, to the ground ; 
these* are the black dots which are seen from afar 
studding the tawny desert-like surface. Flowers 


76 Thi Padrao and Pinda. 

were abundant despite the lateness of the season, 
and the sterilitj' of the soil was evidenced by 
cactus and euphorbia. 

After a walk of six miles Tom Peter pompously 
amiounced that we had reached the church. We 
saw only an oblong furrow and a little worm- 
eaten wood near three or four of the most miserable 
" magalia ;" but a bell, hung to a dwarf gallows, 
was dated 1 700, and inscribed, " Si Deus cum nobis 
Qis {sic) contra nos ?" The aspect of this article 
did not fail to excite Mr. Richards' concupiscence : 
1 looked into the empty huts, and in the largest 
found a lot of old church gear, the Vii^n {our 
Lady of Pinda), saints, and crucifixes, a tank-like 
affair of iron that acted as font, and tattered 
bundles of old music-scores in black and red ink. 
In Captain Tuckey's day some of the Sonho men 
could read the Latin Litany ; there was a priest, 
ordained by the Capuchins of Loanda, a bare-' 
footed (and bare-f;u:ed) black apostle, with a wife 
and five handmaids ; and a multitude of converts 
loaded with crucifixes and satchels of relics. Our 
home march was enlivened by glimpses of the 
magnificent river seen through the perennial 
tropical foliage, and it did not suggest trite re- 
flections upon the meanness of man's highest 
aspirations in presence of eternal Nature. 

We had been treading upon no vulgar spot. 
We are now in the earldom of Sonho, bounded 


The Padrao and Pinda. 77 

north by the Congo River and south by the Ambriz, 
westward by the Atlantic, and eastward by the 
" Duchy of Bamba." It was one of the great 
divisions of the Congo kingdom, and " absolute, 
except only its being tributary to the Lord Para- 
mount" The titles of Portugal were adopted by 
the Congoese, according to Father Cavazzi, after 
A.D. 1571, when the king constituted himself a 
vassal of the Portuguese crown. Here was the 
Pinda whose port and fort played an important 
part in local history. " Built by the Sonhese 
amiy at the mouth of the River Zaire," it com- 
manded both the stream and sea : it was plundered 
in i6ooby_four French pirates. According to Carii 
(1666-67) " tlie Count of Sonho, the fifth dignitary 
of the empire, resided in the town of Sonho, a 
league from the River Zaire" Pinda was for a 
time the head-quarters of the Portugfuese Mission, 
subject only to that of SSo Salvador ; it consisted 
of an apartment two stories high, which caused 
trouble, being contrary to country custom. 

At the French factory I found the employes 
well " up" in the travels of the unfortunate adven- 
turer Douville ("Voyage au Congo et dans I'lnt^- 
rieur de I'Afrique Equinoxiale fait dans les 
annees 1828, 1829, et 1830. Par J. B. Douville, 
ScCT^taire de la Soci^t^ de G^ographie de Paris 
pour I'ann^e i832,etmembredeplusieursSocidt6s 
savantes franjoises et ^trangeres. Ouvrage auquel 


78 The Padrao and Pittda. 

la Soci^td de Gtegraphie a d6;ernd le prix dans 
sa stance du 30 mars, 1832. 3 tomes. 8vo. 
Paris, 1832"). Dr. Gardner, in his Brazilian 
travels, gives an account of Douville's murder, the 
consequence of receiving too high fees for medical 
attendance on the banks of the SSo Francisco. 
So life like are his descriptions of the country and 
its scenery, that no one in the factory would be- 
lieve him to have been an impostor, and the 
Frenchmen evidently held my objections to be 
" founded on nationality." The besetting sins of 
the three volumes are inordinate vanity and in- 
consiquetuey but these should not obscure our vision 
as to their solid and remarkable merits. Compare 
the picturesque account of SSo Paulo with those 
of the latest English travellers, and the anthro- 
pology of the people, their religion, their cere- 
monies, their magic, their dress and costume, their 
trade, their manufactures, their maladies (including 
earth-eating), their cannibalism, the condition of 
their women, and the necessity of civilizing them 
by education before converting them, all subjects 
of the highest interest, with that of Mungo Park, 
for instance, and we have a fair measure of the 
French traveller's value. The native words in- 
serted into the text are for the most part given 
with unusual correctness, and the carping criticism 
which would correct them sadly requires correction 
itself. " Thus the word which he writes mouloundu 


The Padrdo and Pinda. . 79 

in his text, and mulundu in his vocabulary, is not 
singular, as he supposes, but the plural of loondu, a 
mountain " (p. 200 of the " Review "). Firstly, 
DouviUe has warned the reader that the former is 
the spelling best adapted to French, the latter to 
Portuguese. Secondly, " mulundu " in Angolan is 
singular, the plural being "milundu" — a handful, 
the Persians say, is a specimen of the heap. The 
excess of female births in low and unhealthy 
places (i, 309) and as the normal result of poly- 
gamy (3, 243), is a highly interesting subject still 
awaiting investigation. I do not mean that Dou- 
ville was the first to observe this phenomenon, 
which forced itself upon the notice of physiologists 
in ancient times. Foster ("Cook's Third Voyage") 
remarks that, wherever men and animals have 
many females, the feminine births preponderate 
over the masculine ; a fact there explained by the 
" organic molecule " of Buffon. Pigafetta, the 
circumnavigator, gives the King of Tidor eighteen 
daughters to eight sons. 

The French traveller does not pretend to be a 
mineralogist, but he does his best to lay open the 
metallic riches of the country; he gives careful 
observations of temperature, in water as well as 
air, he divines the different proportions of oxygen 
in the atmosphere, and he even applies himself to 
investigating the comparative heat of the negro's 
blood, an inquiry still far from being exhausted. 


8o The Padrao and Pinda. 

The most remarkable part is certainly the medical, 
and here the author was simply in advance of his 
age. Instead of the lancet, the drastic cathartics, 
and the calomel with which our naval surgeons 
slew their patients, he employed emetics and tonics 
to an extent that would have charmed my late 
friend, Dr. Dickson, the chromothermalist, and 
he preceded Dr. Hutchinson in the use of quinine 
wine. Indeed, the peculiar aptitude for medicine 
shown in these pages led to the traveller's adopt- 
ing the destructive art of healing as a profession, 
and caused his unhappy end. The curious mixture 
utter imposture and of genius for observation 

bich a traveller can detect in DouviUe renders 

m worthy of a monograph. 






PARROT was as good as his word. 
By August 31st, " L'Esp^rance," a fine 
schooner-rigged palhabote (launch) of 
thirty-five tons, heavily sparred and car- 
rying lots of " muslin," was ready to receive my 
outfit. The party consisted of the comniander, Mr. 
Bigley, and five chosen " Griffons," including 
William Deane, boatswain's mate, as good a man 
as his namesake in Blake's day, and the estimable 
Friend, captain's cook and Figaro in general. M. 
Pissot, an Ari^sien, clerk to the factory, went up 
on business with a crew of eight useless Cabindas 
under Frank, their pagan " patron," who could 
only run us aground. Finally, there was a guard 
of half-a-dozen " Laptots," equally good sailors and 
soldiers. The French squadron in West Africa has 
the advantage over ours of employing these men, 


82 up the Congo River. 

who are clean, intelligent, and brave ; whilst we are 
reduced to the unprogressive Kru-man, who is, 
moreover, a model coward, a poltroon on principle. 
At 5 P.M. our huge canvas drove us rapidly over 
the shoals and shallows of this imperfectly known 
sea : the Ethiopic Directory justly grumbles, " It is 
a subject of regret that navigators who have had 
occasion to enter the Congo, and to remain there 
some time, have not furnished us with more infor- 
mation about the tides." This will be a work of 
labour and endurance ; detached observations are 
of very little use. We at once remarked the com- 
plication caused by the upper, surface, or fresh- 
water current of 3 to 4 knots an hour, meeting 
the under, or oceanic inflow. There is a short 
cut up Pirate's Creek, but we avoided it for the 
usual reason, fear of finding it very long. Passing 
a low point to port, subtended north and south 
by the Bananal River and Pirate's Creek, after 
some sbc knots we were abreast of Bulambemba 
(the Boulem beembo of Tuckey's Vocabulary). 
It is interpreted " Answer," hence our " Echo 
Point "(?); but others render it, "Hold your 
tongue.'* The former is correct, and the thick 
high screen of trees explains the native and Eng- 
lish names. Old writers call it Fathomless Point, 
which it is not now ; a bank, the south-eastern 
projection of the great Mwdnd Mdzia shoal, has 
formed a few feet below the surface ; but the term 


up the Congo River. 83 

will apply at the distance of a mile further south. 
This acute angle shows a glorious clump, the 
" Tall Trees," white mangroves rising a hundred 
feet, and red mangroves based upon pyramidal 
cages of roots ; and beyond it the immediate shore 
is covered with a dense tropical vegetation, a 
tangle of bush, palms, and pandanus, matted 
with creepers and undergrowth, and rhyzophoras 
of many varieties delighting in brackish water. 
We passed on the right the Ponta de Jacar^ (Point 
of the Crocodile), fronting Point Senegal on the 
other side. The natives call the former Ngindu 
(pi. Jigindu), and farcical tales are told about it : 
in the lower settlements Europeans will not go 
abroad by night without a lantern. During my 
trip I sighted only one startled crocodile that 
floated log-like a mile off, and Captain Baak, of 
the Dutch house, had not seen one during a whole 
year at Banana Point. 

We anchored for the night off the south side 
of the Zungd chyd Ngombe, in Portuguese Ilha 
do Boi (Bullock), the Rhinoceros Island of our 
early charts. It emerges from the waters of the 
right bank, a mere " ponton " plumed with dark 
mangroves and streaked with spar-like white 
trunks. This is probably the " Island of Horses," 
where the Portuguese, flying from the victorious 
Hollanders, were lodged and fed by the courteous 
Count of Sonho; perhaps it is Battel's " Isle 


84 up the Congo River. 

Calabes." The place is backed by the Mon- 
panga or Mombang, the " Look-out Islands " of 
the chart, which has greatly changed since the 
beginning of the century ; the dark mass of man- 
groves is now apparently part of the northern 
shore. Almost due south of the Ilha do Boi is 
the Zungd chyd 'Kampenzi, whence our word chim- 
panzee : in the hydrographic chart it is mis- 
written Zoonga Campendi, and in Tuckey's map, 
which contradicts his text, " Zoonga Casaquoisa." 
His " Zoonga Kampenzey," also named " Halcyon 
Island," appears to be the Draper's Island or the 
" Monkey Island" of Mr. Maxwell: the latter in 
modem charts is more to the north-east, that is, 
above Porto da Lenha, than the former. The 
Simiads have been killed out; Captain Tuckey 
going up tfle river saw upwards of twenty which, 
but for their tails, might have been mistaken for 
negroes. Merolla says that wild men and women 
(gorillas ?) have been captured in Sonho, and he 
carefully distinguishes them from baboons : one of 
them was presented to a friar of his order, who " be- 
stowed it on the Portuguese governor of Loanda." 
Chimpanzee Island may be the Zariacacongo of 
Father Merolla, who makes Cacongo (Great Congo) 
a large and independent kingdom " lying in the 
middle between Congo and Loango." He de- 
scribes Zariacacongo, " none of the smallest, and 
situate in the midst of the River Zaire." It 


up the Congo River. 85 

abounded in all sorts of provisions, was well 
peopled, consisted of a plain raised eight fathoms 
above water, and was divided from the kingdom of 
Congo by a river, over which there was a bridge. 
After a pleasant breezy night upon the brown 
waters, on September 1st we hove anchor betimes 
and made for Scotchman's Head, a conspicuous 
mangrove bluff forming a fine landmark on the 
left bank. The charts have lately shifted it some 
two miles west of its old position. Six or seven 
miles beyond it rise the blue uplands of the " Earl- 
dom of Sonho." On our right, in mid-stream, lay 
a " CTocodile bank," a newly fixed grass islet, a 
few square feet of green and gold, which the floods 
will presently cover or carry away. To the left, 
above the easternmost " Mombang" and the net- 
work of islands behind it, opens the gape of the 
Malela River, a short cut to French Point, found 
useful when a dangerous tide-rip is caused by the 
strong sea-breeze meeting the violent current of 
the Thalweg. Above it lies a curious formation 
like concentric rings of trees inclosing grass : it is 
visible only from the north-east Several slave 
fectories now appear on either shore, single-storied 
huts of wood and thatch, in holes cut out of the 
densest bush, an impenetrable forest whose sloppy 
soil and miry puddles seem never to dry. The 
tenements serve as videttes and outposts, enabling 
argoes to ship without the difficulties of passing 


86 Up the Congo River. 

Palm Point, and thus to make a straight run down 
stream. There are three on the north bank, viz. 
M. R^gis (atn^), now deserted, Sr. Lima Viana, 
and Sr. Antonio Fernandez ; and three on the left 
side, Sr. Alessandro Ferreira, Sr. GuHherme, and 
Sr. Fonseca. Those on the southern or left bank 
facilitate overland transit to Mangue, Ambrizette, 
and other d^p6ts. At present it is " tiempo seco " 
(dull time), and the grants keep their hands in by 
buying ground-nuts and palm oil. The slave 
trade, however, makes 500, not 50, per cent, 
and the agents are naturally fond of it, their mere 
salaries being only some 1 50 francs a month. 

Landing at the factory of Sr. Femandez, we 
were received by his agent, Sr. Silva, in a little 
bungalow of bamboo and matting, paved with 
tamped earth and old white ostreoid shells, a kind 
of Mya, relished by the natives but not eaten by 
Europeans. To these, doubtless, Mr. W. Winwood 
Reade refers {" Savage Africa," chap, xxxvii.), 
" The traders say that in Congo there are great 
heaps of oyster-shells, but no oysters. These shells 
the negroes also bum for lime." I did not hear 
of any of these " ostreiras," which, if they exist, 
must reflect the Sambaquis of the opposite Bra- 
zilian shore. The house was guarded by three 
wooden figures, " clouterly carved," and powdered 
with ochre or red wood ; two of them, representing 
warriors in studded coatings of spike nails, with a 
looking-glass fixed in the stomach, raised their 


Up the Congo River. 87 

hands as if to stab each other. These figures are 
sometimes found lar^e as life: according to the 
agents, the spikes are driven in before the wars be- 
gin, and every one promises the hoped-for death of 
an enemy. Behind them the house was guarded 
by a sentinel with drawn sword. The unfortunate 
tenant, who looked a martyr to ague, sat " in 
palaver " with a petty island " king," and at times 
the tap of a warrdnim roused my experienced ear. 
The monarch, habited in a shabby cloth coat, 
occupied a settee, with a " minister" on either side ; 
he was a fat senior of light complexion, with a 
vicious expression upon features, which were not 
those of the " tobacconist nigger," nor had he the 
effeminate aspect of the Congoese, 

I looked curiously at these specimens of the 
Musulungu or Musurungu, a wilder race than 
that of Shark Point : the English, of course, call 
them Missolonghi, because Lord Byron died there. 
Here the people say " le" for " re," and " rua" for 
" lua," confounding both liquids, which may also 
be found in the Kibundo tongue. In Loango, 
according to the Abb^ Proyart, the national organ 
does not admit the roughness of the r, which 
is changed to I. Monteiro and Gamitto assert 
(xxii.) that the " Cazembes or Lundas do not pro- 
nounce the letter r, in whose place they use i." 
The " Ibos " of the lower Congo, dwelling on the 
southern shore between the mouth and the Porto 


88 Up the Congo River. 

da Lenha, above which they are harmless, these 
men have ever been dangerous to strangers, and 
the effect of the slave-trade has been to make them 
more formidable. Lieutenant Bolder (1835) was 
attacked by twenty-eight canoes, carrying some 
140 men, who came on boldly, "ducking" at the 
flash, and who were driven off only by a volley of 
musketry and a charge of grape. In i860 a 
whaler and crew were attacked by their war- 
canoes sallying out from behind Scotchman's 
Head. These craft are of two kinds, one shaped 
like a horse-trough, the other with a lean and 
snaky head. The " Wrangler *' lost two of her 
men near Zungd chyd Kampenzi, and the " Griffon" 
escaped by firing an Armstrong conical shell. 
They have frequently surprised and kept for 
ransom the white agents, whom " o negocio" 
deterred from reprisals. M. Pissot, our companion, 
was amarri by them for some weeks, and the 
most unpleasant part of his captivity was the 
stunning concert of songs and instruments kept up 
during the day to prevent his escaping by night 
The more sensible traders at Boma pay them 
black mail by employing them as boats' crews, 
upon our Anglo-Indian principle of the " Paggi " 
and the " Ramosi." 

Merolla calls these men Musilongo or Sonhese. 
The word appears to me opprobrious, as if each 
tribe termed itself Mushi-Congo (Congo people). 


up t/ie Congo River. 89 

and its neighbours Musulungus: Barbot writes 
as a Frenchman Moutsie, the Portuguese Muxi 
(Mushi). Mushi-Longo would perhaps mean 
Loango-people ; but my ear could not detect any 
approach to " Loango" in " Musulungu." The first 
syllable, Mu, in Fiote or Congoese, would be a 
contraction of Muntu (plural Wintd). They in- 
habit the islands, own a part of the north bank, and 
extend southwards to Ambriz : eastward they are 
bounded by the Fiote or Congo-speaking peoples, 
to whom their tongue is intelligible. They have 
no tattoo, but they pierce the nose septum and 
extract the two central and upper incisors ; the 
Muxi-Congoes or Lower Congoese chip or file out 
a chevron in the near sides of the same teeth— 
an ornament possibly suggested by the weight of 
the native pipe. The chipping and extracting 
seem to be very arbitrary and liable to change ; 
sometimes the upper, at other times the lower 
teeth are operated upon. The fashionable muti- 
lation is frequently seen in Eastern Africa, and 
perhaps it is nothing but a fashion. They are 
the " kallistoi " and " megistoi " of the Congoese 
bodies, taller and darker, fiercer and braver than 
their neighbours, nor will they cease to be river 
pirates till the illicit trade dies. 

After taking leave of Sr. Silva we resumed our 
way, the thermometer (F.) showing at r.45 p.m. 
95" in the air when the sun was obscured, and the 


90 Up the Congo River, 

mirage played the usual fantastic tricks. The 
mangrove, which Tuckey's introduction prolongs 
to fiity miles from the mouth, now disappears ; in 
fact, it does not extend much above Bullock Island, 
nineteen direct miles on the chart from Shark 
Point and, as usual, it enables us to measure the 
extreme limit where the salt-tide ascends. The 
palhabote went gallandy, 

" The water round her bows 
Dancing as round 3 drinking cup." 
Small trembling waves poppled and frothed in 
mid-stream, where the fresh water met wind and 
tide ; and by the " boiling " of the surface we saw 
that there was still a strong under-current flowing 
against the upper layer. A little beyond the factory 
we were shown on the northern bank Mariquita 
Nook, where the slaver of that name, commanded 
by a Captain Bowen, had shipped some 520 men. 
She was captured by H.M. Steamship " Zebra," 
Commander Hoskins, after being reported by a 
chief, whom her captain had kicked, to a trader at 
the river mouth, and by him to the cruizer. Slavers 
used to show their sense by starting on Sundays, 
when the squadron kept a careless look-out ; but 
their inevitable danger was the general " drunk " of 
the officers and crew to celebrate the event, and this 
libation often caused delays which led to seizure. 
It was an admirable site, a bit of golden sand 
fronting the cleared bush, commanding an unbroken 


Up the Congo River. 91 

sweep of vision to the embouchure, and masked 
by forest from Porto da Lenha. It is easily known 
by its two tall trees, and that nearest the sea, 
when viewed from the east, appears surmounted 
by what resemble the " Kangaroo's Head :" they 
are cones of r^;ular shape, covered to the topmost 
twig with the lightest green Flagellaria. The 
" bush " now becomes beautiful, rolling in bulging 
masses of verdure to the very edge of the clear 
brown stream. As in the rivers of Guinea, the 
llianas form fibrouE chains, varying in size from a 
packthread to a cable ; now straight, then twisted ; 
investing the trees with an endless variety of 
folds and embraces, and connecting neighbours 
by graceful arches like the sag of an acrobat's rope. 
Here and there a grotesque calabash contrasted 
with the graceful palms towering in air for Warmth 
and light, or bending over water like Prince of 
Wales's feathers. The unvarying green was en- 
livened by yew-like trees* with scarlet flowers, 
the " Burning Bush " of Sierra Leone, setting off 
the white boles of the cotton-trees ; and the whole 
was edged by the yellow green of the quaint pan- 
danus hung with heavy fruit 

A litde beyond " Mariquita Nook " the right 
bank becomes a net-work of creeks, " obscure 
channels," tortuous, slimy with mud, banked witR 
the snake-like branches of trees, and much re- 
sembling the lower course of the Benin, or any 
other north equatorial African river ; the forest is 


92 The Slave Depot, 

also full of large villages, invisible like the streams 
till entered. A single tree, apparently growing 
out of the great stream-bed, showed shallow water 
as we passed the Ponte de tres Palmeiras ; the 
three oil-palms are still there, but the easternmost 
is decaying. At 2 p.m. we were in sight of the 
chief slaving settlement on the Congo, the Whydah 
of the river, Porto da Lenha. Our charts have 
" Ponta de Linha," three mistakes in as many 
words. Some authorities, however, prefer Ponta 
da Lenha, " Woody Point," from the piles flanking 
the houses ; others, Ponte da Lenha, from a bridge 
built by the agent of Messrs. Tobin's house over the 
single influent that divides the setdement. Cruizers 
have often ascended thus far; the Baltimore 
barque of 800 tons went up and down safely in 
1859, but now square-rigged ships, which seldom 
pass Zungd chyd Kampenzi, send up boats when 
something is to be done higher up. 

Porto da Lenha dates like Abeokuta from the 
second decade of the present century. In Tudtey's 
time the projection from the northern bank 
was known as " Tall Trees," a term common to 
several places in the " Oil rivers ; " no factories 
existed, schooners sailed to Boma for cargo, and 
dropped down stream as soon as loaded. From 
French Point it is distant 40,000 measured metres 
(=: 21 statute miles and 1,615 yards); our charts 
show 20-50 nautical miles (= 32,500 metres in 


Porto da Lenha. 93 

round numbers). The river opposite the projec- 
tion narrows to a gate barely a mile and a half 
broad, whilst the valley stretches some five miles, 
and the blue hills inhabited by the Musulungus are 
clearly visible ; the flood rises four or five feet, 
and drinking water must be brought from up 
stream. The site of the settlement is on the right 
or northern bank behind the projection, a slip of 
morass backed by swamps and thick growths, 
chiefly bombax, palm and acacia, lignum vitx, the 
mammee-apple and the cork-tree, palmyra, pan- 
danus, and groves of papyrus. Low and deeply 
flooded during the rains, the place would be fatal 
without the sea-breeze ; as it is, the air is exceed- 
ingly unwholesome. There is no quay, the canoe 
must act gondola ; the wharf is a mere platform 
with steps, and in places the filthy drains are not 
dry even at this season. The length of the station 
is about one mile, and of no depth except what is 
taken up by the neat and expensive gardens. 
Eastward or up stream it thins out, and the foun- 
dations give considerable trouble ; the inhabitants 
are condemned to do beavers' work, to protect 
the bank with strong piles, and to heap up earth 
for a base, whilst, despite all their toil, the water 
often finds its way in. The sixteen houses look 
well ; they are substantial bungalows, built country 
fashion, with timber and matting ; they have large 
and shady verandahs, and a series of inner rooms. 


94 Tke Slave Depot, 

Each house has a well-kept pottage plot, in- 
ferior, however, to those up stream. 

The tenure of ground here, as at Boma, is by- 
yearly rent to the two " kings," Nengongo and 
Nenzalo, each of whom claims a Half. Like the 
chiefs of Porto Novo, the despot of Dahome, 
the rulers of many Nigerian tribes, and even the 
Femandian " Bube," these potentates may not look 
at the sea nor at the river. Their power is, there- 
fore, deputed to " linguisters " or interpreters, 
linguistele ya Nchinu, " linguist to the king," being 
the official titles of these worthies, who massacre 
the Portuguese language, and who are empowered 
to receive " comey " (customs) and rent The re- 
venue is composed of three principal items ; an 
ounce ($i6) per head of n^^o embarked at Porto 
da Lenha ; four per cent, on all goods sold, and, 
lastly, a hundred hard dollars monthly ground- 
rent — ^192 a year. The linguist becomes more 
powerful than the chief, who is wholly in his power, 
and always receives the best presents, Nengongo 's 
fattore is old Shimbah, an ignoble aspect with a 
" kink in his leg ;" Mashel or Machela, a corruption 
of the Portuguese Maciel, died about two months 
ago : we shall see him disembarked for burial at 

It is evident that the slavers were wrong not to 
keep hulks like those of the Bonny River; health 
would have gained, and the procedure might have 


Porto da Lenka. 95 

modified negro "sass." The chiefs begin early 
morning by going their rounds for drink, and end 
business between 7 and 10 a.m. Everywhere on 
this coast a few hours of work support a " gentle- 
man;" even the comparatively industrious and 
hard-working Egbas rarely do anything after noon. 
These lords and masters are fully aware that the 
white men are their willing slaves as long as the 
laige profits last. If a glass of watered rum, which 
they detect more easily than we do watered milk, 
be offered to them, it will be thrown in the donor's 
face. Every factory must keep a barrel of spirits 
ready broached if the agents would buy eggs and 
yams, and the poorest negro comes r^ularly with 
his garra/a. The mixed stuff costs per bottle only 
a hundred reis (= fourpence), arid thoroughly de- 
moralizes the black world. 

We landed at once, sent our letters to M. Mon- 
teiro, who hospitably offered his house, and passed 
the day quickly enough in a round of visits. 
Despite the general politeness and attention to 
us, we found a gloom overhanging the place : as 
at Whydah, its glories have departed, nor shall they 
ever return. The jollity, the recklessness, the 
gold ounces thrown in handfuls upon the monte- 
table, are things of the past : several houses are 
said to be insolvent, and the dearth of cloth is 
causing actual misery. Palm and ground-nut oil 
enable the agents only to buy provisions ; the 


96 The Slave D^ot, 

trade Is capable of infinite expansion, but tt re- 
quires time — as yet it supports only the two non- 
slaving houses, English and Dutch. The forty or 
fifty tons brought in every month pay them cent 
per cent ; the bag of half a hundred weight being 
sold for four fathoms of cloth ; or two hatchets, 
one bottle of rum, and a jug or a plate. 

Early next day I went to the English factory 
for the purpose of completing my outfit Unfor- 
tunately, Mr. P. Maculloch, the head agent, who 
is perfectly acquainted with the river and the 
people, was absent, leaving the business in the 
hands of two "mean whites," walking buccras, 
English pariahs. The factory — a dirty disgrace to 
the name — was in the charge of a clerk, whom we 
saw being rowed about bareheaded through the 
sun, accompanied by a black girl, both as far from 
sober as might be. The cooper, who was sitting 
moony with drink, rose to receive us and to weigh 
out the beads which I required ; under the excite- 
ment he had recourse to a gin-bottle, and a total 
collapse came on before half the work was done. 
Why should south latitude 6°, the parallel of Zan- 
zibar, be so fatal to the Briton ? 

At 2.20 P.M. on September 2, we left Porto da 
Lenha, and passed Mashel's Creek, on whose right 
bank is the village of Makatalla ; the charts call 
it Foomou, and transfer it to the left. Here we 
enter upon the riverine archipelago. The great 


Porto da Len/ia. 97 

stream before one, now divides into three parallel 
branches, separated by long narrow islands and islets, 
banks and shallows. The northernmost channel 
in our maps, " Maxwell River," is known to Euro- 
peans and natives as Noangwa; Mamballa or the 
central line is called by the modems Nshibiil, and 
the southern is dubbed by the hydrographer, " Rio 
Konio," a truly terrible mistake for Sonho. As a 
rule, the Noangwa, though infested during the 
rains by cruel mosquitoes, is preferred for the ascent, 
and the central for dropping down stream. The 
maximum breadth of the Congo bed, more than 
half island, is here five miles ; and I was forcibly 
reminded of it when winding through the Dalma- 
tian Archipelago. 

The river still maintained its alluvial aspect as 
we passed along the right bank. The surface was 
a stubble strewn with the usual trees ; the portly 
bombax ; the calabash, now naked and of wintry 
aspect ; and the dark evergreen palmyra, in dots 
and streaks upon the red-yellow field, fronted by 
an edging of grass, whose king, cyperus papyrus, is 
crowned with tall heads waving like little palms. 
This Egyptian bush extends from the Congo 
mouth to Banza Nokki, our landing-place ; it grows 
thickest about Porto da Lenha, and it thins out 
above and below : I afterwards observed it in the 
sweet water marshes of Syria and the Brazils. We 
passed sundry settlements — Loango Pequeno, 


98 The Slave D^ot, 

Loango Grande, and others — and many canoes 
were seen plying up and down. On the left or to 
. the south was nothing but dense reedy vegetation 
upon the low islands, which here are of larger 
dimensions than the northern line. As evening 
drew near, the grasshoppers and the tree frogs 
chirped a louder song, and the parrots whistled as 
they winged their rapid flight high overhead. 
Presently we passed out of the lower archipelago, 
and sighted the first high land closing upon 
the stream, rolling hills, which vanish^ in blue 
perspective, and which bore streaks of fire during 
the dark hours. Our Cabinda Patron grounded 
us twice, and even the high night breeze hardly 
enabled us to overcome the six-knot current off 
the narrow, whose right side is called Ponta da 
Diabo. Devil's Point is not so named in the chart; 
the place is marked " Strong Tide " (No. i), op- 
posite Chombae Island, which the natives term 
Zungd chyi Bundfkd, hence probably the name 
of the village Bemandika (Boma ndika). At this 
satanic headland, where the banks form a gate three 
miles broad, a man hailed us from the bank ; none 
understood him, but all made up thetr minds that 
he threatened to visit us during the night. 

A light breeze early next momii^ fortunately 
freshened as we approached "Strong Tide" (No. 2). 
We ran north of the second archipelago above the 
gate ; south of us lay the " Low Islands " of the 


Parto da Lenha. 99 

chart, with plantations of beans and tobacco ; the 
peasants stood to stare like Icelanders, leaning on 
oblong-bladed paddles six feet long, or upon alpen- 
stocks capped with bayonets ; the " scare-crows " 
were grass figures, with pots for heads and wooden 
ratdes suspended to bent poles. On the right 
bank a block of hills narrows the stream, and its 
selv^ of light green grasses will contribute to the 
" floating islands." Higher up, blocks and boulders 
of all sizes rise from the v^etation, and prolong 
themselves into the shallower waters. There are 
two distinct bluffs, the westernmost marked by a 
tree-dump at its feet, and between them lies a 
baylet, where a dozen palms denote the once 
dreaded village Bemandika. The second block, 
400 to 500 feet high, bears on its rounded summit 
the Stone of Lightning, called by the people Tadi 
Nzizhi, vulghy Taddy Enzazzi. The Fiote lan- 
guage has the Persian letter Zh (j), sounding like 
the initial of the French " jour :" so Lander (" On 
the Course and Termination of the Niger," " Journal 
Royal Geographical Society," vol. i. p. 131) says of 
the Island Zegozhe, that " zh is pronounced like z 
in azure." This upright mass, apparently 40 feet 
highland seeming, likethe " Lumba" of Kinsembo 
to rest upon a basement, is very conspicuous from 
the east, where it catches the eye as a watch-tower 
would. At the bluff-base, a huge slab, an irregu- 
lar parallelogram, slopes towards the water and, 


lOO Arrival at Boma. 

viewed far up stream, it passably represents a 
Kaffir's /ai-m^. This Fingal's Shield, a name due 
to the piety of Mr. George Maxwell, is called by 
the French La Pierre Fetiche : it must not be 
confounded with our Fetish Rock (Tddi ya Muin- 
gu) on the southern bjmk at the entrance of the 
Nshibiil and Sonho branches. I can add nothing 
to Tuckey's description or Lieutenant Hawkey's 
tracing of the rude figures which distinguish a not 
unusual feature. Tuckey (p. 97) calls Fingal's 
Shield Taddy d'ya M'wangoo, and Professor 
Smith, Taddi Moenga (p. 303); the only defect in 
LieutenantHawkey's sketch is that of exaggerating 
the bluff, a mere mamelon, one of many lumps 
upon a continued level. Both rocks are of the 
oldest granite, much weather-worn and mixed and 
banded with mica and quartz. M. Charles Konig 
found in the finer-grained varieties " minute 
noble garnets," which also appeared in the mica- 
slate of " Gombac '* higher up stream, and in the 
primitive greenstone of " Boka Embomma." ' 

Beyond this point, where Boma is first sighted, 
lies the large marauding village of Twind. Here 
also a man shouted to us from the bank " Muliele ! 
muliele ! " for the Portuguese " mulher," one of the 
interminable corruptions of the tongue — a polite 
offer, as politely declined. The next feature is the 

' Appendix to Tuckey's " Expedition," No, 6. 


Arrival at ^oma. loi 

Rio do Jacar^, a narrow sedgy stream on the right 
bank, which, winding northward through rolling 
lines of hills, bends westward, and joins, they say, 
the Rio LukuUu (Lukallo ?) of Cabinda Bay. Men 
have descended, I am told, three leagues, but no 
one has seen the junction, consequently there may 
be a portage between the drains. If not, this is the 
apex of the greater Congo delta, a false formation, 
whose base between Cabinda Bay (S. lat. 5" 25') 
and Ambrizette {S. lat 7° 16') measures i** 51', 
equal to 1 1 1 direct geographical miles, whilst its 
depth inland would be sixty. 




E now reach Boma, the furthest Portu- 
guese factory, about thirty, usually 
reckoned thirty-eight, nautical miles 
from Porta da Lenha, and a total of 
52.50 from French Point. 

The upper d^p6t of the Congo lies upon the 
north bank, acculeni^ gTonnd, poor, stony, and sandy 
soil, with rounded, grass-clad hills. The southern 
is less broken ; there are long slopes and waves 
of land which trend in graceful lines, charmingly 
diversified, to the uplands, where the old capital, 
S3o Salvador, is situated ; and upon the undulating 
blue ridges, distance behind distance, appear mark- 
ings by Nature's hand, which the stranger's eye 
can hardly distinguish from villa or village. The 
view explains how the old expedition felt " every 
day more in love with this beautiful country." 


The sea-like river wants nothing but cattle on its 
banks to justify the description — 

" Appusto una scena pastorale, a cni fanno' 
Quind il mar, quind i colli, e d' ogn' iDt<Hiio 
I fior, le piante, e 1' ombre, e 1' Mide, e 1 cielo, 
Unteatro pomposo." 

In the centre of the broad stream, whose south- 
em arm is not visible, are three islets. The western- 
most, backed by a long, grassy, palm-tasselled 
bank, is called Zungd chyd Bundfki.. This Chom- 
bae Island of the charts is a rocky cone, dark with 
umbrella-shaped trees. Its north-eastern neigh- 
bour, Simiile Kete, the Molyneux Island of Mr. 
Maxwell, the Hekay of Tuckey, and the Kekay of 
the chart, contrasts sharply with the yellow stubbles 
and the flat lines of Zungd chyd Ngdndi. Here, 
since Tuckey's time, the trees have made way for 
grass and stones ; the only remnants are clumps 
in the south-eastern, which is not only the highest 
point, but also the windy and watery direction. 
On the Congo course the foul weather is mostly 
from the " sirocco," where the African interior is 
a mass of swamps. At the mouth tornadoes come 
down the line of stream from the north-east, and I 
heard traditions of the sea-tornado, which Wows in 
shore instead of offshore as usual. About the close 
of the last century one or other of these islands was 
proposed as a d6p6t and settlement, which a few 
simple works would convert into a small Gibraltar. 


1 04 Boma. 

The easternmost Buka, the Booka Embomma 
of the charts and maps, will presently be de- 
scribed. In this direction the Zaire assumes the 
semblance of a mountain lake, whilst down stream 
the broad bosom of the Nshibiil branch forms 
almost a sea-horizon, with dots showing where tall, 
scattered palms spring from the watery surface. 
We cannot but admire the nightly effects of the 
wintry bush-fires. During the day livid volumed 
smoke forms cumuli that conceal their enemy, the 
sun, and discharge a rain of blacks ten times the 
size of Londoners. In the darkened air we see 
storms of fire fiercely whirling over the undulating 
ranges, here sweeping on like torrents, there delay- 
ing, whilst the sheets meet at the apex, and a 
giant beard of flame {(pKoyot itiyta wuyw) flouts the 
moon. The land must be splendidly grassed after 
the rains. 

The Boma factories are like those of Porto da 
Lenha, but humbler, in size, and more resembling 
the wicker-work native houses. The river, which 
up stream will show a flood mark of twelve feet, 
here seldom rises above five, and further down 
three and four ; consequently piles are not required, 
and the swiftness of the current keeps off the 
jacar6. Formerly there were fourteen establish- 
ments, which licit trade in palm oil and ground- 
nuts, instead of men, women, and children, have 
reduced to ten. The air is sensibly drier and 


Our Outfit for the Interior. 105 

healthier than at the lower settlement, and appa- 
rently there is nothing against the place but deadly 
MKWi and monotony. 

We landed at once, and presented our letters to 
Sr. Antonio Vicente Pereira, who at once made us 
at home : he had seen Goa as well as Macdo, so 
we found several subjects in common. The factory 
enjoyed every comfort : the poultry yard throve, 
far better than at Porto da Lenha ; we saw fowls 
and pigeons, " Manilla " ducks and ducklings, and 
a fine peacock from Portugal, which seemed to 
enjoy the change. The fish is not so good as 
that caught further down, and the natives have a 
habit of narcotizing it : the Silurus electricus is 
exceptionally plentiful. The farmyard contained 
tame deer, and a house-dog fierce as a tethered 
mastiff; goats were brought whenever wanted, and 
the black-faced, thin-tailed sheep gave excellent 
mutton. Beef was impossible ; the Portuguese, 
like the natives, care little for milk, and of the herd, 
which strangers had attempted to domesticate, re- 
mained only a bull and a cow in very poor con- 
dition — the deaths were attributed to poisonous 
grass, but I vehemently suspect Tsetse. A daily 
"quitanda," or market, held under the huge cala- 
bashes on a hill behind the house, supplied what 
was wanted. 

Upon Market Hill executions also take place, 
the criminal being shot through the heart M. 


ro6 Our Outfit for the Interwr. 

Pereira's garden produces all that Porta da Lenha 
can grow, with less trouble and of a superior kind. 
Water-melons, tomatoes, onions, and pimento, or 
laige pepper (pimentio, siliquastnim, ndungu ya 
yen^ne), useful to produce " crocodiles' tears ;" mint, 
and parsley flourish remarkably; turnips are eat- 
able after two months ; cabbage and lettuce, beet, 
carrot, and endive after three or four. It is a 
waste of ground to plant peas ; two rows, twelve 
feet by four, hardly produce a plateful. Manioc 
ripens between the sixth and ninth month, plan- 
tains and bananas once a year, cotton and rice tn 
four months, and maize in forty days — with irriga- 
tion it is easy to grow three annual crops. The 
time for planting is before the rains, which here last 
six weeks to two months, September and October. 
The staple of commerce is now the nguba, or 
ground-nut (plural, jinguba), which Merolla calls 
incumba, with sometimes a little milho (maize), 
and Calavance beans. Of fruits we And trellised 
grapes, pines, and guavas, which, as at Fernando Po, 
are a weed. The a^fr«i«i, limes, oranges and citrons 
are remarkably fine, and hold, as of old, a high 
place in the simple medicines of the country. A 
cup of lime-leaf tea, drunk warm in the morning, 
is the favourite emetic and cathartic: even in 
Pliny's day we find " Mains Assyria, quam alii 
vocant medicam (Mediam ?), venenis medetur" (xii. 
7). On the Gold Coast and in the Gaboon region, 


Our Outfit for the Interior. 107 

colic and dysentery are cured by a calabash full of 
Kme-juice, " laced " with red pepper. The pecu- 
liarity of European vegetables throughout maritime 
Congo and Angola is the absence of all flavour 
combined with the finest appearance ; it seems 
as though something in the earth or atmosphere 
were wantii^ to their full development Similarly, 
though in the upper regions the climate is de- 
licious, the missionaries could not keep themselves 
alive, but died of privation, hardship, and fatigue. 




5|OMA, at the head of the Congo delta, 
^ the great d^p6t between the interior 
el and the coast, owes its existence wholly 

" the crael trade 
Which spoils unhappy AMc of her sons." 

Father Merolla (1682), who visited it from 
" Angoij," our " Cabinda," speaks of it as a pretty 
large island, tributary to the Mani-Congo, ex- 
tremely populous, well supplied with provisions, 
and outlaid by islets belonging to the Count of 
Sonho. Tuckey's Embomma was an inland banza 
or town, and the site of the factories was called 
Market Point ; the Expedition map and the hydro- 
graphic chart term it Loombee, the latter being 
properly the name of a lai^e quitanda (market) 
lying two miles to the north-west. Early in the 
present century it is described as a village of a 


A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 109 

hundred huts, opposite which trading vessels an- 
chored under charge of the " Fuka or king's mer- 
chant ; " no market was held there, lest, in case of 
dispute, the royal person might suffer. Although 
the main features of our maps are still correct, 
there have been great changes in the river-bed 
between Porto da Lenha and Boma, especially 
about the latter place, which should be transferred 
from its present site to Lumbi. The broad 
Chisalla Creek, which Mr. Maxwell calls Logan, 
between the northern bank and the island " Booka 
Embomma," is now an arm only 200 feet wide. 
In fact all the bank about Boma, like the lower 
delta, uigently calls for re-surveying. 

This part of the river belongs to the " Rei dos 
Reis," Nessalla, xmder whom are some ten chief 
officers called " kings," who buy and sell ; indeed, 
Africa knows no other. The title is prostituted 
throughout the West Cojist, but it is nowhere so de- 
graded as in the Congo re^ons ; the whites abuse 
it to flatter the vanity of the astute negro, who 
accepts it with a view to results — a "lung-dash" 
must, of course, be greater than that of a subject 
Every fellow with one black coat becomes a 
"preese" (prince), and if he has two he styles 
himself a " king." Without permission of the 
" King of Kings " we could obtain neither inter- 
preter, canoe, nor crew ; a visit to Banza Chisalal 
was therefore necessary and, as it would have been 


no A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 

vain to ask anything empty-handed, I took with 
me a fine spangled cloak, a piece of chintz, and a 
case of ship's rum, the whole worth £,<). 

At 6,30A.M. on September 5th we set out up 
stream in a fine canoe, wall-sided and rather crank, 
but allowing the comfort of chairs. She was of 
Mayumba make, superior to anything built on the 
river, and the six men that drove her stood up to 
pole and paddle. Above Boma the hills, which 
are the outlines of the west African Ghats, form a 
graceful semicircle, separated from the water by a 
flat terrace garnished with little villages and tree- 
islets. On the north bank are many of the crater^ 
like sinks which dot the coast from the Gaboon to 
Loango. We hugged the right side to avoid the 
rapid swirl ; there was no backwater at the points, 
and hard work was required to prevent our being 
swept against the boulders of gneiss, schiste, and 
pudding-stone edging the shores and stretching 
into the stream. Here the fish is excellent as at 
Porto da Lenha, and we found the people catching 
it in large spoon-shaped basins : I enquired about 
the Peixe mulher (woman-fish), the French drine, 
which old missioners describe as an African mer- 
maid, not exactly as she appeared to the " lovely 
lord of Colonsay," and which Barbot figures with 
" two strutting breasts." He makes the flesh taste 
like pork, and tells us that the small bones of the 
hand were good for gravel, whilst bracelets made 


A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 1 1 1 

of the left rib were worn near the heart, to stop 
bleeding. This manatus, like the elephant and 
the hippopotamus, has long disappeared before 
the gun. 

After some three quarters of an hour we reached 
the entrance of Chisalla Creek, which is the north- 
ernmost branch of the main stream. On the left 
(north) was a plain showing traces of a large vil- 
lage, and we Mghted our first grass-island — a 
compact mass of fibrous, earth-washed roots and 
reedy v^etation, inhabited by serpents and ardeJne 
birds. To the right, or southward, rises the tall 
island of Boma, rocky and wooded, which a narrow 
channel separates from its eastern neighbour, Chi- 
salla Islet The latter is the royal P^re la Chaise, 
the graves being kept carefully concealed ; white 
men who have visited the ground to shoot ante- 
lope have had reason to regret the step. Here 
also lie three officers of the Congo Expedition — 
Messrs. Galwey, Tudor, and Cranch — forgotten, 
as Gamboa and Reitz at Mombasah. 

The banks of the winding creek were beautified 
with the malaguetta pepper, the ipomsea, the hibis- 
cus, and a yellow flower growing upon an aquatic 
plant like a magnified water-cress. Animal life 
became somewhat less rare; we saw sandpipers, 
hawks, white and black fish-eagles, an;i long- 
l^ged water-hens, here supposed to give excellent 
sport. An embryo rapid, formed by a gneiss-band 


112 A Visit to Banza Chisalla. 

connecting the north bank with the islet, delayed 
us, and the rocks on the right showed pot-holes 
dug by the poling-staves ; during the rains canoes 
from Boma avoid this place, and seek fuel down 
stream. After a total of two hours and a quarter 
we reached Banza Chisalla : it is a " small country," 
in African parlance, a succursal of Boma proper, 
the Banza on the hills beyond the reedy, grassy 
plain. The site is charming — a flat palm-orchard 
backed by an amphitheatre of high-rolling ground, 
and the majestic stream approaches it through 
a gate, whose right staple is the tall Chisalla, 
and whose left is a rocky islet with outlying 

We ascended the river-bank, greeted by the 
usual accidents of an African reception ; the men 
shouted, the women rushed screaming under cover, 
and the children stood howling at the horrible 
sight. A few paces placed us at the " palace," a 
heap of huts, surrounded by an old reed-fence. 
The audience-room was a trifle larger than usual, 
with low shady eaves, a half-flying roof, and a pair 
of doorways for the dangerous but indispensable 
draught ; a veteran sofa and a few rickety chairs 
composed the furniture, and the throne was known 
by its boarded seat, which would have been useful 
in takinjg a " lamp-bath." 

Presently entered the "Rei dos Reis," Nessalla: 
the old man, whose appearance argued prosperity, 


A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 113 

was engrande tettue, the State costume of Tuckey's, 
not of Merolla's day. The crown was the usual 
" berretta " (night-cap) of open work ; the sceptre, 
a drum-major's staff; the robes, a "parochial" 
beadle's coat of scarlet cloth, edged with tinsel 
gold lace. His neck was adorned with hair circlets 
of elephants' tails, strung with coral and beads; 
&e effect, to compare black with white, was that of 
Beau Bnimmell's far-famed waterfall tie, and the 
head seemed supported as if on a narrow-rimmed 
"chaiger." The only other ornament was a broad 
silver ring welded round the ankle, and drawing 
attention to a foot which, all things considered, was 
small and well shaped. 

Some of the chiefs had copper rings of home 
manufacture, with neatly cut raised figures. The 
king held in his right hand an article which at 
first puzzled us — a foot's length of split reed, with 
the bulbous root attached. He may not, like his 
vassals, point with the finger, and without pointing 
an African can hardly give an order. Moreover, 
the Sangildvii or Malaguetta pepper (Amomum 
granum Faradisi), fresh or old, is not only a tooth- 
stick, but a fetish of superior power when carried 
on journeys. Professor Smith writes "Sangala 
woo," and tells us that it was always kept fresh in 
the house, to be rolled in the hands when invoking 
the Fetish during war-time ; moreover, it was 
chewed to be spat at the enemy. Possibly he 


114 A Visit to B&rna Chisalla. 

confuses it with the use as a tooth-sdck, the article 
which Asia and Africa prefer to the unclean hog's- 
bristle brush of Europe. 

On the left of the throne sat the Nchinu, or 
"second king," attired in a footman's livery of 
olive-coloured doth, white-worn at the seams, and 
gleaming with plated buttons, upon which was the 
ex-owner's crest — a cubit arm. 

The stranger in Africa marvels why men, who, 
as Dahome shows, can affect a tasteful simplicity, 
will make themselves such "guys." When look- 
ing it these caricatures, he is tempted to read 
(literally) learned Montesquieu, " It is hardly to be 
believed that God, who is a wise being, should 
place a soul, especially a good soul, in such a 
black, ugly body," and to consider the few excep- 
tions as mere "sporting plants." But" the negro 
combines with inordinate love of finery the true 
savage taste — ^an imitative nature, — and where he 
cannot copy the Asiatic he must ape the European ; 
only in the former pursuit he rises above, in the 
latter he sinks below his own proper standard. 
Similarly, as a convert, he is ennobled by El 
Islam ; in rare cases, which may be counted upon 
the fingers, he is civilized by Christianity; but, 
as a rule, the latter benefits him so far only 
as it abolishes the barbarous and murderous rites 
of Paganism. 

But there is also a sound mundane reason which 


A Visit to Bama Chisalla. 115 

CMses the African " king " to pose in these cast-off 
borrowed plumes. Contrast with his three-quarter 
nude subjects gives him a name ; the name com- 
mands respect ; respect increases "dash ;" and dash 
means dollars. For his brain, dense and dead 
enough to resist education, is ever alive and 
alert to his own interest ; whilst the concentration 
of its small powers prevails against those who, in 
all other points, are notably his superiors. The 
whole of n^p-o Africa teaches this lesson. " The 
Ethiopians," says Father Merolla, " are not so dull 
and stupid as is commonly imagined, but rather 
more subtle and cunning than ordinary ;" and he 
adds an instance of far-sighted treachery, which 
would not have been despicable even in a Hindoo. 
A desultory palaver " came up ;" the soul of the 
meeting not being present M. Pissot explained 
my wish to " take walk and make book," carefully 
insisting upon the fact that I came to spend, not to 
gain money. The grizzled senior's face, before 
crumpled like a " wet cloak ill laid up," expanded 
at these last words, and with a grunt, which plainly 
meant " by' m' by," he rose, and retired to drink — 
a call of nature which the decencies of barbarous 
dignity require to be answered in private He re- 
turned accompanied by his nephew, Manbuku Prata 
(pronounced Pelata), the "Silver Chief Officer," 
as we might say. Golden Ball. The title is vul- 
garly written Mambuco ; the Abb6 Proyart prefers 


Ii6 A Visit to Bama Chisalla. 

Ma-nboukou, or "prince who is below the Ma- 
kaia in dignity." The native name of this third 
personage was Gidifuku. It was a gorgeous digni- 
tary : from the poll of his night-cap protruded a 
dozen bristles of elephant's tail hair, to which a 
terminal coral gave the graceful curve of a pin- 
tado's crest, and along his ears, like the fl^^s of a 
travelling casquette, hung two dingy little mirrors 
of talc from Cacongo, set in clumsy frames of 
ruddled wood. Masses of coral encircled his neck, 
and the full-dress naval uniform of a French 
officer, with epaulettes of stupendous size, exposed 
a zebra'd guernsey of equivocal purity. A long 
black staff, studded with broad-headed brass beads, 
served to clear the room of the lieges, who re- 
turned as fast as they were turned out — the baton 
was evidently not intended to be used seriously. 

But the Manbuku Prata is not a mere " Punch 
in a puppet show." His face expresses more in- 
telligence and resolution than usual, and his Portu- 
guese is not the vile article of the common trader. 
He means business. When other chiefs send their 
" sons," that is their slaves, to fight, he leads them 
in person — venite, non iie. The French " Emigra- 
tion Libre" put 30,000 dollars into his pocket, and 
he still hopes against hope to ship many a cargo 
for the Banana factory. He has some 300 armed 
serviles at Chinfmf and Ldmbd, two villages 
perched like condors' nests upon hills command- 


A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 117 

ing the river's northern bank, and, despite the 
present dearth of " business," he still owns some 
100,000 francs in cloth and beads, mm and gun- 

As the " Silver Minister " took his seat upon 
the ground before the king, all removed their caps 
witii a simultaneous grunt and performed the 
" Sdldli" or batta-palmas ; this hand-clapping must 
be repeated whenever the simplest action is begun 
or ended by lung or chief. Monteiro and Ga- 
mitto (pp. loi et seg.) refer to the practice every- 
where on the line of country which they visited : 
there it seems to be even a more ceremonious 
a&ir than in the Congo. The claps were succes- 
Mvely less till they were hardly audible ; after a 
pause five or six were given, and the last two or 
three were in hurried time, the while without pro- 
nouncing a word. The palaver now opened 
steadily with a drink : a bottle of trade " fizz " 
was produced for the white man, and rum for his 
black congeners ; then the compliment of healths 
went all round. After this we fell to work at' 
business. By dint of abundant wrangling and 
with an immense display of suspicion, natural 
nnder the circumstances, it was arranged that the 
king should forward me in a couple of his own 
canoes to Banza Nokki, the end of river naviga- 
tion, as we were told, and falsely told ; in my turn I 
was to pay goods valued about £6, at least three 


ii8 A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 

times the usual tariff. They consisted of fourteen 
red caps, as many " sashes," and fifty-two fathoms 
of cloth for the crew ; ten Pegas de lei or Chiloes 
for each interpreter, and two pieces for the canoes. 
I should have given four fathoms for each man 
and the same for each boat The final scene was 
most gratifying to the African mind : I solemnly 
invested old Nessala with the grand cloak which 
covered his other finery ; grinning in the ecstasy of 
vanity, he allowed his subjects to turn him round 
and round, as one would a lay figure, yet with pro- 
found respect, and, lastly, he retired to charm his 

This part of the negotiations ended with pre- 
senting some " satin stripe " and rum to the 
Nchinu and Manbuku Prata, and with shaking 
hands — a dangerous operation. The people are 
cleanly ; they wash when rising, and before as 
well as after every meal ; they are always bathing, 
yet from prince to pauperi from baby to grey 
beard, they are affected with a psora known by 
its Portuguese name, "sarnas." The Congo 
"fiddle" appears first between the articulations of 
the fingers, and bleaches the hands and wrists as 
if it were leprosy. Yet I did not see a single 
case of true lepra Arabum, or its modifications, 
the huge Barbadoes 1^ (elephantiasis), and the 
sarcoma scrotale and sarcocele of Zanzibar 
and East Africa. From the extremities the 


A Visit to Bama Ckisalla. 119 

^e extends over the body, especially the shins, 
and the people, who appear in the perpetual 
practice of scalpturigo, attribute it to the immode- 
rate use of palm wine. I observed, however, that 
Europeans, in the river, who avoid the liquor, are 
hardly ever free from this foul blood-poison, and a 
jar of sulphur mixture is a common article upon 
the table. Hydrocele is not unfrequent, but hardly 
so general as in the Eastern Island ; one manner 
of white man, a half caste from Macdo, was suffer- 
ing with serpigo, and boasted of it 

All predicted to me a similar fate from the 
"botch of Congo," but happily I escaped. Indeed, 
throughout the West African Coast, travellers 
risk " craw-craw," a foul form of the disease, seen 
on board the African steamers. Kru-men touching 
the rails of the companion ladders, have commu- 
nicated it to passengers, and these to their wives 
and families. 

The town was neat and clean as the people. 
The houses were built upon raised platforms, and 
in the little fenced fields the Cajanus Indicus 
vetch was conspicuous. In Hindostani it is called 
Thur, or Doll-plant, by the Eastern Arab Turiyan, 
in Kisawahili Mbarazi, in Angola voando(MeroIla'3 
Ouuanda), and in the Brazil Guandu.' The people 

' See the note of the learned Robert BrowD, p. 472, Ap- 
pendbi V., Tuckey's " Congo." 


lao A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 

had lost their fear, and brought their exomphalous 
little children, who resembled salmon fry in the 
matter of umbilical vesicles, to be patted by the 
white man ; a process which caused violent screams 
and in some cases nearly induced convulsions — 
the mothers seemed to enjoy the horror dis- 
played by their hopefuls. There is little beauty 
amongst the women, and settled Europeans prefer 
Cabinda girls. The latter have perhaps the most 
wiry and wig-like hair on the whole West African 
coast, where all hair is more or less wiry and wig- 
like. Cloth was less abundant in the village than 
a smear of red ; the bosom even after marriage 
was unveiled, and the rule of fashion was shown 
by binding it tighdy down. The rich wore artfi- 
lets and leglets of staircase rods, brass and copper, 
like the metal gaiters and gauntlets of the Gaboon 
River. The only remarkable object was the 
Quesango, a wooden effigy of a man placed in 
the middle of the settlement : Battel mentions it 
amongst the " Gagas or Guides," and Barbot 
terms it "Likoku Mokisi." Three faint hurrahs, 
a feeble African echo of England like the 
" hoch ! " of Vienna, and the discharge of a four- 
pounder were our parting honours. 

We returned vid the gateway between the two 
islets. On the south-eastern flank of Chisalla 
is a dwarf precipice called Mbondo la Zumba 
and, according to the interpreters, it is the 


A Visit to Banza Chisalla. 121 

Lovers' Leap of Tuckey. But its office must not 
be confounded with that attributed to the sinister- 
looking scaur of Leucadia ; here the erring wives 
of the Kings of Boma and their paramours found 
a Bosphorus. The Commander of the First Con- 
go Expedition applies the name to a hanging 
rock on the northern shore, about eighteen miles 
higher up stream. A portentous current soon 
swept us past P^re la Chaise, and shortly after 
noon we were comfortably at breakfast with Sr, 

During the last night we had been kept awake 
by the drumming and fifing, singing and shout- 
ing, weeping and howling, pulling at accordions 
and striking the monotonous Shingungo. Merolla 
names this cymbal Longa, and describes it justly 
as two iron bells joined by an arched bar : I found 
it upon the Tanganyika Lake, and suffered 
severely from its monotonous horrors. Monteiro 
and Gamitto (p. 332) give an illustration of what 
is known in the Cazembe's country as " Gomati :" 
The Mchua or gong-gong of Ashanti has a 
wooden handle connecting the cones. Our pal- 
habote had brought up the chief Mashel's bier, 
and to-day we have the satisfaction of seeing it 
landed. A kind of palanquin, covered with crim- 
son cloth and tinsel gold like a Bombay " Tabiit," 
it had three horns or prominences, two capped 
with empty black botdes, and the central bearing 


122 A Visit to Banza Ckisalla. 

the deceased's helmet ; it was a fancy article, which 
might have 6tted him of Gath, with a terrific 
plume and the spoils of three horses in the san- 
guine hues of war. Although eight feet long 
by five broad, the coffin was said to be quite full. 
The immense respect which the Congoese bear to 
their rulers, dead as well as alive, prevented my 
verifying the accounts of the slave dealers. I 
knew that the chief who had died at Kinsembo, 
had been dried on a bamboo scaffolding over a 
slow fire, and lay in state for some weeks in 
flannel stockings and a bale of baize, but these 
regions abound in local variations of custom. 
Some declared, as we find in Proyart, that the 
corpse had been mummified by the rude pro- 
cess of smoking ; others that it had been ex- 
posed for some days to the open air, the relatives 
sitting round to keep off the files till preliminarily 
bandaged. According to Barbot (iii. 23), the 
people of Fetu on the Gold Coast and the men 
of Benin used to toast the corpse on a wooden 
gridiron; and the Vei' tribe, like the Congoese, 
still fumigate their dead bodies till they become like 
dried hams. This rude form of the Egyptian rite 
is known to East as well as to West Africa: 
Kimera, late King of Uganda, was placed upon a 
board covering the mouth of a huge earthern pot 
heated from below. 

Instances are known of bodies in thp Congo 


A Visil to Bama Ckisalla. 123 

r^on remaining a year or two above ground till 
the requisite quantity of fine stuffs has been pro- 
cured — ^the larger the roll the greater the dignity, 
and sometimes the hut must be pulled down 
before it can be removed Here, as on the Gold 
Ctast, we find the Jewish practice recorded by 
Josephus of converting the tomb into a treasury ; 
in the case of Mashel some ^600 in gold and 
silver, besides cloth, beads, and ornaments, shared, 
they say, his fate. The missionaries vainly fought 
against these customs, which are evidently of sen- 
timental origin — 

" Now bring the last sad gifts, with these 

The last lament be said ; 
Let all that pleased and still may please 

fie buried with the dead." 

The bier was borne by slaves, as the head men 
would not even look at it ; at times the carriers 
circled round, as if to deprecate the idea that they 
were hurrying it to its bourne. The grave was a 
pit fifteen to twenty feet deep, cut like a well, 
covered with stones to keep out wild beasts, and 
planted round with the cylindrical euphorbia by 
way of immortelles. 

I could not find out if the Congoese still prac- 
tise the vivi-sepulture so common on the Western 
Coast— the "infernal sacrifices of man's flesh to 
the memory of relatives and ancestors," as the 
old missioners energetically expressed themselves. 


124 -^ ^^ to Bama Chisalla. 

According to Battel, the " Giaghi" corpse wai 
seated as if alive in a vault ; in this " infernal and 
noisome dungeon" were placed two wives with 
their arms broken, and thus there was no 
danger of the Zumbi or ghost killing men by re- 
apparition. When the king of Old Calabar died, 
a huge hole was dug, with an off chamber for two 
sofas, one of which supported the dressed and 
ornamented corpse. Personal attendants, such as 
the umbrella, sword, and snuff-box bearers, holding 
the insignia of their offices, together with sundry 
virgins, were either slaughtered or thrown in 
alive, a rude in pace. Quantities of food and 
trade goods, especially coppers, were heaped up ; 
after which the pit was filled and the ground was 
levelled. The less wealthy sort of " gendemen " 
here are placed in smaller graves near the villages ; 
and the slaves are still " buried with the burial of 
an ass," — cast forth into the bush. 

Yet, by way of showing themselves kind to the 
dead, the Congoese are " commonly very cruel to 
the living." Lately, a chief, called from his wealth, 
" Chico de Ouro " (Golden Frank) died somewhat 
suddenly. The Nganga or medicine man who, on 
such occasions, here as elsewhere, has the/jw vita 
et necis, was called in ; he charged one of the sons 
with parricide by witchcraft, and the youth was 
at once pierced by the bayonets of his brothers. 
" Golden Frank " was peculiar in his ways. He 


A Visa to Banza Ckisalla. 125 

used to entertain the factors at dinner, imitating 
them from soup to cheese ; his only objections were 
to tea, and to drinking toasts out of anything but 
the pet skull of an enemy : it was afterwards 
placed upon his grave 

Boma is no longef " the emporium of the Congo 
Empire," if it ever did deserve that title. Like 
Porto da Lenha, it is kept up by the hopes of 
seeing better days, which are not doomed to 
dawn. Even at the time of my visit some 400 to 
500 negroes were under guard in a deserted fac- 
tory, and, whilst we were visiting Nessalla, they 
were marched down to bathe. When I returned 
from the cataracts, the barracoon contained only 
fifiy or sixty, the rest having been shunted off to 
some unguarded point. At a day's notice a thou- 
sand, and within a week 3,ocx> head could be pro- 
cured from the adjoining settlements, where the 
chattels are kept at work. As in Tuckey's day, 
" those exported are either captives in war or con- 
demned criminals." During the Free Emigration 
as much as $80 have been paid per man, a large 
sum for "Congoes :" whilst a cai^ of 500 " Minas" 
{Guinea n^oes) loses at most 20 per cent., these 
less hardy gangs seldom escape without at least 
double the deaths by dysentery or some other 
epidemic. Now they are freely offered for %\q to 
|io, but there are no buyers ; the highest bid of 
which I heard was $100 for a house-" help." 


ia6 A Visit to Bama ChisaUa. 

The slave-traders in the Congo look upon their 
employment as did the contrabandist in the 
golden days of smuggling ; the " free sailor " 
whom Marryatt depicts, a law-breaker, yet not 
less a very pleasant, companionable fellow. The 
unhappy differences between the late British Com- 
missioner for Loanda and the Judge of the mixed 
Court, Sr. Jos6 Julio Rodriguez, who followed his 
enemy to the grave on April 12, 1863, rendered 
SSo Paulo anything but a pleasant place to an 
English resident; but the rancour had not ex- 
tended to the Congo, and, so far from showing 
chagrin, the agents declared that without the 
"coffin squadron," negroes would have been a 
mere drug in the market The only diplaisir is 
that which I had already found in a Gaboon fac- 
tory, the excessive prevalence of petty pilfering. 
The Moleques or house-boys steal like magpies, 
even what is utterly useless to them ; these young 
clerks of St Nicholas will scream and writhe, and 
confess and b^ pardon under the lash, and repeat 
the offence within the hour: as they are bom 
serviles, we cannot explain the habit by Homer's, 
" Jove fixed it certaiD that whatever day 
Makes man a slave taJces half his worth away." 

One of our watches was found in the pocket of a 
noble interpreter, who, unabashed, declared that 
he placed it there for fear of its being injured; 
and the traders are constandy compelled to call in 


A Visit to Bama Chisalla. 127 

the Fetishman for the protection of their stcwes 
gainst the prig^ng chiefs. Yet in Tuckey's time 
there was only one thief at Boma, a boy who stole 
a knife, confessed, and restored it. During a 
month's residence amongst the pagans of the in- 
terior, where the houses swarmed with serviles, 
and where my outfit, which was never locked up, 
must have represented a plate-chest in England, 
not the smallest article was " found missing," nor 
could anything be touched except by collusion 
with the head man. 




JIOR a wonder the canoes came in time, 

5| and, despite their mat-sails, we could 

a not complain of them. There were 

twelve paddlers two for the stem, and 

two for the stern of each craft, under a couple of 

interpreters, Jotakwassi and Nchama-Chamvu, 

who were habited in European frock-coats of 

broadcloth, and in native terminations mostly 

" buff." Our excellent host bade us a kindly adieu, 

with many auguries of success — during the last 

night the frogs had made a noise in the house. 

Briefly, we set out on September 6th. 

In the forty-five miles between Boma, where we 
enter the true trough of the Congo, and the land- 
ing-place of Banza Nokki below the cataracts, 
there are half-a-dozen reaches, the shortest of 
three, the longest of fifteen miles. They are 
not straight, as upon the chart ; the windings of 


Up ihe Congo to Bansa Nokki. 129 

the bed exclude direct vision, and the succession 
of points and bays suggest, like parts of the 
Rhine, a series of mountain-tarns. The banks 
show the high-water level in a low shelf, a ribbon 
of green, backed by high rolling hills, rounded and 
stony, with grass dry at this season ; the formation 
is primitive, and the material of the lower bed has 
been held to " prove the probability that the moun- 
tains of Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, and other 
adjacent parts of South America, were primevally 
connected with the opposite chains, that traverse 
the plains of Congo and Loango." In parts the 
rocks fall bluif into the river, and here the current 
rushes past like a mill-race without a shadow of 
■ backwater. The heights are intersected by gul- 
lies and ravines, of which I counted sixty-nine on 
the right and fifty-four on the left bank; many of 
ihem are well wooded, and others are fronted by 
plains of the reeds and flags, which manufacture 
floating islands, cast loose, like those of the Niger, 
about the end of July by the "Malka" rains. 
About a dozen contained running water : Captain 
Tuckey did not see one that would turn a mill in 
August and September ; but in November and 
December all these fiumaras will discharge tor- 

The breadth of the entroughed bed varies from 
?oo yards to two miles where it most dispreads 
itself The current increases from the normal 


130 up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 

three to 6ve knots in rare places ; the surface loses 
the glassiness of the lower section, and at once 
shows the boiling and swirling which will be 
noticed near the cataracts. The shores are often 
foul, but the midway is mostly clear, and, where 
sunken rocks are, they are shown by whirlpools. 
The flow of the tide, or rather the damming up of 
the lower waters between Porto da Lenha and the 
mouth, causes a daily rise, which we found to 
measure about a foot ; thus it assists in forming a 
treble current, the rapid down-flow in the Thalweg 
being subtended by a strong backwater on either 
side carrying a considerable portion in a retrograde 
direction, and showing a sensible reflux ; this will 
continue as far as the rapids. In the Amazonas 
the tides are felt a hundred leagues from the 
mouth ; and, whilst the stream moves seawards, 
the level of the water rises, proving an evident 
under-current. Mr. Bates has detected the in- 
fluence of oceanic tides at a point on the Tapajos, 
530 miles distant from its mouth, such is the 
amazing flatness of the country's profile : here wc 
find the reverse. 

The riverine trough acts as wind-conductor to a 
strong and even violent sea-breeze ; on the lower 
section it begins as a ground-current — if the " bull " 
be allowed — a thin horizontal stratum near the 
water, it gradually curves and slides upwards as it 
meets the mountain flanks, forming an Inverted 


up tlic Congo to Banza Nokki. 131 

arch, and extending some 2,000 to 3,000 feet 
above the summits. At this season it is a late 
riser, often appearing about 3 p.m., and sometimes 
its strength is not exhausted before midnight. 
The brown water, grass-sheeted at the sides, con- 
ceals the bright yellow sand of the bed ; when 
placed in a tumbler it looks clear and colourless, 
and the taste is perfectly sweet — brackishness 
does not extend far above Porto da Lenha. - Yet 
at Boma the residents prefer a spring near the 
factories, and attribute dysentery to the use of 
river-water. According to Mr. George Maxwell, 
the supply of the lower bed has the quality of rot- 
ting cables, and the same peculiarity was attributed 
to the Tanganyika, 

Of late years no ship has ventured above Boma, 
aiid boats have ascended with some difficulty, 
owing to the " buffing stream." Yef there is no 
reason why the waters should not be navigated, 
as proposed in 1816, by small steamers of good 
power, and the strong sea-breeze would greatly 
facilitate the passage. In older and more enter- 
prising days merchant-schooners were run high 
lip the Zaire. The master of a vessel stated to 
Tuckey that he " had been several voyages up to 
the distance of 140 miles from the mouth " without 
finding any difficulty. 

Our course passed by Banza Chisalla where, as we 
had paid double, there was a vain attempt to make 


132 up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 

us pay treble. Travelling up the south-eastern 
reach, we passed a triangular insulated rock off the 
southern bank, and then the"diabolitos" outlying 
Point Kilu, opposite Banza Vinda on the other side. 
A second reach winding to the north-east showed 
on the right Makula (Annan) River, and a little 
further Munga-Mungwa (Woodhouslee) ; between 
them is the terminus of the S3o Salvador road. 
On the northern bank where the hills now become 
rounded mountains, 1,500 feet above the stream, 
perches Chinfmf the village of Manbuku Prata, 
who expects canoes here to await his orders ; and 
who was sorely offended because I passed down 
without landing. The next feature of the chart, 
Matidf " Memcandi," is a rocky point, not an island. 
Turning a projection, Point Makula (Clough 
Corner), we entered No. 3, elbow bending south- 
east ; on its concave northern side appeared the 
settlement Vinda la Nzidi. This is the Vinda le 
Zally of Tuckey ; on the chart Veinde len Zally, 
and according to others Vinda de Nzadi, or village 
of the Zaire River. It is probably the " Benda" 
of the Introduction (p. xxxiv.) ; and as b and v 
sound alike in Fiote, Cabinda, Cabenda or Kaben- ■ 
dah is evidently Ca-vinda — great village. 

Our terminus that day was the usual resting- 
place of travellers, " Mfumba" behind Nkumungu 
(Point) Kaziwa, a mass of granitoid slabs, with a 
single tree for landmark. Opposite us was SanJi 


up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 133 

ya Nzondo, which others call Sanga ya Ngondo ; 
in the chart this one-tree island is written " Catlo 
Zonda," it is the first of two similar formations. 
Oscar Rock, its western (down stream) neighbour, 
had shared the fate of " Soonga lem Paccula," 
(Zunga chya Makula ?) a stone placed in the map 
north-east of the Makula or Annan debouchure ; 
both were invisible, denoted only by swirls in the 
water. We had taken seven hours to cover what 
we easily ran down in two, and we slept com- 
fortably with groan of rock and roar of stream 
for lullaby. 

Septmtber 7. — Our course now lay uninter- 
ruptedly along the left bank, where the scenery 
became yet more Rhine-like, in natural basins, 
reaches on the chart : here and there rugged up- 
rocks passably simulated ruined castles. The 
dwarf bays of yellow sand were girt by a goodly 
vegetation, the palm and the calabash only telling 
us that we were in Africa. 

Our men pointed to the work of a Nguvu or 
hippopotamus, which they say sometimes attacks 
canoes; they believe with Tuckey that the river- 
horses cause irregularity of soundings by assem- 
bling and trampling deep holes in the bed ; but the 
Ngadi is a proof that they do not, as M. du Chaillu 
supposes, exclusively affect streams with shoals 
and shallows. The jacar^ (crocodile) is known 
especially to avoid the points where the current 


■34 ^P ^^^^ Congo to Banna Nokki. 

sweeps swiftly past, yet no one will hang his hand 
over the canoe into the water : we did not see 
any of these wretches, but at Boma Coxswain 
Deane observed one about sixteen feet long. 

Curls of smoke arose from the mountain-walls 
of the trough, showing that the bush was being 
burned ; and spired up from a grassy palm-dotted 
plain, between two rocky promontories on the left 
bank, the site of the Chacha or Wembo village : 
in a gap of the herbage stood half-finished canoes, 
and a man was bobbing with rod, line, and float 
After an hour's paddling we halted for breakfast 
under " Alecto Rock," a sheer bluff of reddish 
schist, r 50 feet high ; here a white trident, inverted 
and placed ten feet above the water, showed signs 
of H.M. Ship " Alecto," (late) Captain Hunt, 
whose boat passed up in 1855. The people call 
it Chimbongolo. The river is now three quarters 
of a mile wide, and the charming cove shows the 
brightest of sands and the densest of vegetation 
waving in the cool land-wind. 

Resuming our way at 9 p.m., we passed on the 
left " Scylla Rocks," then a wash, and beyond 
them four high and tree-clad heads off the right 
bank. Three are islets, the Zunga chya Gnombe 
— of die buU^formed by a narrow arm passing 
round tliem to the . north : other natives called 
them Zunga chya Umbinda, but all seem to 
differ. These arc the Gombac Islands of the 


up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 135 

chart. Hall Island being the easternmost, and the 
northern passage between the three horns and 
the main is called by us " Gombac Creek." Half 
an hour beyond was a mass of villages, in a large, 
grassy low-land of the left bank, girt by mountains 
higher than those down stream. Some outlying 
huts were called by the interpreters Suko Nkongo, 
and formed the " beach town " of large interior 
settlements, Suko do Wembo and Mbinda. Others 
said Lasugu or Sugo Nkongo, the Sooka Congo 
of the charts : others again for " Mbinda" pro- 
posed " Mpeso Birimba." This is probably the 
place where according to the mail of November, 
'73, diamonds were found, and having been sub- 
mitted to " Dr, Basham {Dr. Bastian before men- 
tioned), Director of the Museum of Berlin," were 
pronounced to be of very fine water. It is possible 
that the sandstone may afford precious stones like 
the itacolumite of the Brazil (" Highlands of the 
Brazil," i. 380), but the whole affair proved a hoax. 
In mid-stream rose No. 2, " One-Tree Island," 
Zunga chya NIemba or Shika chya Nzondo ; 
in Tuckey it is called Boola Beca or Blemba (the 
husband) Rock ; the old ficus dying at the head, 
was based upon a pedestal which appeared groin- 
shaped from the e^st Here the mirage was very 
distinct, and the canoes seemed to fly, not to swim— 

" As when far out of sea a fleet descned. 
Hangs in the-clouds." 


136 Up tfie Congo to Banza Nokki. 

The northern bank shows a stony projection called 
by Maxwell " Fiddler's Elbow ;" it leads to the 
fourth reach, the second of the north-eastern series ; 
and the breadth of the stream, once more a moun- 
tain lake, cannot be less than two miles. 

I foresaw trouble in passing these settlements. 
Presently a snake-like war canoe with hawser-holes 
like eyes, crept out from the southern shore ; 
a second fully manned lay in reserve, lurking 
along the land, and armed men crowned the rocks 
jutting into the stream. We were accosted by the 
first craft, in which upon the central place of 
honour sat Mpeso Birimbd, a petty chief of Suko 
Nkongo ; a pert rascal of the French factory, 
habited in a red cap, a green velvet waistcoat, and 
a hamnlock -shaped tippet of pine-apple fibre ; his 
sword was a short Sollingen blade. The visit had 
the sole object of mulcting me in rum and cloth, 
and my only wish was naturally to expend as little 
as possible in mere preliminaries. The name of 
Manbuku Prata was duly thrown at him with but 
little effect : these demands are never resisted by 
the slave-dealers. After much noise and cries of 
" Mwendi " (miser, skin-flint) on the part of the 
myrmidons, I was allowed to proceed, having given 
up a cloth twenty-four yards long, and I felt really 
grateful to the " trade " which had improved off 
all the other riverine settlements. Beyond this 
point we saw nothing but their distant smokes. 


- Up tlie Congo to Bama Nokki. 137 

Before the second north-eastern reach, the in- 
terpreters exclaimed " Yellala falla" — " the cataract 
is speaking," and we could distinctly hear the 
cheering roar. The stream now assumed the 
aspect of Niagara below the Falls, and the circular 
eddies boiling up from below, and showing dis- 
tinct convexity, suggested the dangerous " wells " 
of the northern seas. Passing the " Three Weird 
Sisters," unimportant rocks off, the right bank, we 
entered upon the remarkably long stretch, extending 
upwards of five miles, and, from its predominating 
growth, we proposed to call it " Palmyra Reach." 
The immediate river banks were clad with sedge, 
and the broad leaves of the nymphjea, a plant like 
the calamus of Asia, but here used only as a tooth- 
pick, began to oust the rushy and flaggy growth 
of the lower bed. The pink balls of the spinous 
mimosa, and bright flowers, especially the convol- 
vulus and ipomaea, illuminated the dull green. The 
grassy land at the foot of the mountains was a 
mere edging, faced by outlying rocks, and we were 
shown the site of a village long ago destroyed. 

The Nteba, or palmyra nobilis, mixed here and 
there with a glorious tamarind, bombax or cala- 
bash, forms a thin forest along the reach, and rarely 
appears upon the upper hills, where we should 
expect it. The people use both fruit and wine, 
preferring, however, the liquor of the Ebah (oil 
palm-tree), and the autumnal fires can hardly affect 


138 up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 

so sturdy a growth. The other trees are the 
mfuma, cotton-tree or bombax [Pentandria trunco- 
spinoso. Smith), much valued as a canoe : Meroila 
uses Mafuma, a plural form, and speaks of its 
" wonderful fine wool." The wild figs show 
glorious stature, a truly noble growth, whose 
parents were sun and water. 

The birds were lank black divers (Plotus), ex- 
ceedingly wild ; • the African roller (Coracias) ; 
halcyons of several species, especially a white and 
black kingfisher, nimble and comely ; many swal- 
lows, horn-bills, and wild pigeons which made the 
bush resound ; ardeine birds, especially a heron, 
like t^ie large Indian "kullum;" kites, crows, 
"whip-poor-wills," and a fine halisetus; which flies 
high and settles upon the loftiest branches. One 
of these eagles was shot, after a gorge of the 
electric fish here common ; its coat was black and 
white, and the eyes yellow, with dark pupils. 
Various lizards ran over the rocks ; and we failed 
to secure a water-snake, the only specimen seen on 
the whole trip. 

About noon we struggled past Point Masalla, 
our " Diamond Rock," a reef ending in a trian- 
gular block, towering abrupdy, and showing by 
drift-wood a flood-line now twelve feet high. 
There are several of these "bench-marks;" and. 
the people declare tliat after every few years an 
unusual freshet takes place. Here the current 


Up the Congo to Danza Nokki. 139 

impinges directly upon the rocks, making a strong 
eddy. " They die each time," said the interpreters, 
as the canoelnen, with loud shouts of " Vai ou nao 
Vai? Vaisempre! Vai direito, ya mondele!" and 
"Arister," a mariner's word, after failing to force 
the way, tumbled overboard, with a hawser of 
iliana to act as tow-line. " Vai direito," according 
to Father Ciprani, also applies to a "wonderful 
bird, whose song consists in these plain words;" 
and " Mondele" is synonymous with the Utangdni 
of the Gaboon and the East African Muzungu, a 
white man. 

This bend was in former days the terminus of 
canoe travel up stream. Grisly tales of mishap 
are told ; and even now a musketry salute is fired 
when boats pass without accident Beyond Dia- 
mond Rock is a well- wooded, stony cove, " Salan 
Kunkati :" Captain Tuckey makes this the name 
of the Diamond Rock, and translates it " the strong 
feather." Quartz, before in lines and bands, now 
appears in masses : the " Coal Rock," which the 
chart places near Insila (Bechope Point) on the 
northern bank, was probably submerged. High 
cliffs towered above us, and fragments which must 
have weighed twenty tons had slipped into the 
water; one of them bore an adansonia, growing 
head downwards. 

The next feature was Npunga Bay, low and 
leek-green, between the blue-brown water, here 


140 up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 

some 700 yards broad, and the yellow sun-burnt 
trough-sides. A little further on, at 2 p.m., the 
canoe-men halted beyond a sandy point with two 
large " Bondeiro " trees, and declared their part of 
the bargain to have been fulfilled. "Bonderro" 
is a corruption of the Lusitanianized imbundeiro, 
the calabash, or adansonia {digitata f) : the other 
baobab is called nkondo, probably the Aliconda 
and Elicandy of Battel and old travellers, who 
describe the water-tanks hollowed in its huge 
trunk, and the cloth made from the bark fibre. 
Thus the " Condo Sonio " of the Chart should be 
" Nkondo Sonho," the latter a proper name. It 
is seldom that we find trees turned to all the uses 
of which they are capable : the Congo people 
despise the nutritious and slightly laxative flour of 
the " monkey bread," and the young leaves are 
not used as pickles; the bast is not valued for 
cloth and ropes, nor are the boles cut into cisterns. 
As will be seen, we ought to have insisted upon 
being paddled to Kala cliff and bight, the Mayumba 
Bay of the Chart, where the bed trends west-east, 
and shows the lowest rapids : the First Congo 
Expedition' went up even higher. At Nkongo ka 
Lunga, the point marked by two calabashes, we 
inquired for the Nokki Congo, of which we had 
heard at Chisalla, and which still exists upon the 
chart, — districts and villages being often con- 
founded. All laughed, and declared that the 


up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 141 

" port-town " had long been sold off; the same had 
been the case, even in Tuckey's day, with the next 
settlement, " Condo Sonio " (the Baobab of Sonho), 
formerly the great up-stream mart, where the 
slave-traders transacted their business. All the 
population was now transferred inland and, like 
our predecessors, we were promised a two hours' 
climb over the rough, steep highland which lay in 

front Then we understood that " Nokki " was 
the name of a canton, not of a settlement. Its 
south-eastern limits may have contained the " City 
of Norchie, the best situated of any place hitherto 
seen in Ethiopia," where Father Merolla {p. 280) 
baptized 126 souls, — and this is rendered probable 
by the crucifixes and coleworts which were found 
by the First Congo Expedition. 

Here, then, at 97*50 miles from the sea, ended 
our day's cruize. We could only disembark upon 


142 up Ute Congo to Banza Nokki. 

the clean sand, surrounded by cool shade and 
blocks of gneiss, the favourite halting-place, as the 
husks of ground-nuts show. Nchama Chamvu 
was at once sent off with a present of gin and a 
verbal report of arrival to Nessudikira Nchinu, 
(King), of Banza Nkaye, whilst we made ready 
for a night's lodging A la belle iloile. The mes- 
senger returned, bringing a goat, and the good 
news that porters would be sent early next morn- 
ing. We slept well in the cool and dewless air, 
with little trouble from mosquitoes. The voice of 
the cataract in its "sublime same-soundingness " 
alone broke the silence, and the scenery suggested 
to us, as to the first Britishers, that we might be 
bivouacking among the "blue misty hills of Mor- 

September 8. — Shortly after sunrise appeared 
Gidi Mavunga, father to the "king," accompanied 
by five " princes," in the usual black coats, and some 
forty slaves, armed with pistols, blunderbusses, and 
guns of French and Yankee build. Our visitors 
wore the official berretta, European shirts, that 
contrasted with coral necklaces and rings of zinc, 
brass, and copper, and handsome waistcoats, fronted 
by the well-tanned spoil of some "bush" animal, 
generally a wild cat. hanging like a Scotch sporran 
— this is and has long been the distinctive sign of 
a "gentleman." According to John Barbot (Sup- 
plement, Churchill, v. 471). all men in Loango 


up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 143 

were bound to wear a furskin over their clothes, 
viz., of an otter, a tame cat, or a cat-o'-mountain ; 
a " great wood or wild cat, or an angali (civet-cat). 
Besides which, they had very fine speckled spelts, 
called ' enkeny,' which might be worn only by the 
king and his peculiar favourites." 

On the great man's mat was placed a large 
silver-handled dagger, shaped somewhat like a 
fish-slicer ; and the handsome hammocks of bright- 
dyed cottons brought down for our use shamed 
our humble ship's canvas. The visitors showed 
all that African cdlinerie, which, as fatal experi- 
ence told me, would vanish for ever, changing 
velvet paw to armed claws, at the first question of 
cloth or rum. Meanwhile, we had only to visit 
their village " upon the head of Gidi Mavunga." 

About 9 A.M. we attacked a true Via Dolorosa, 
the normal road of the Lower Congo. The steep 
ascent of dry, clayey soil was strewed with schist 
and resplendent silvery gneiss ; quartz appeared in 
every variety, crystallized and amorphous, transpa- 
rent white, opaque, dusky, and rusty. Tuckey's 
mica slate appears to be mostly schist or gneiss : 
I saw only one piece of true slate which had been 
brought from the upper bed. Merolla's talc is 
mostly mica. 

Followed an equally rough descent to a water 
set in fetid mud, its iridescence declaring the pre- 
sence of iron ; oozing out of the ground, it dis- 


144 Up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 

charges during rains into the river ; and, through- 
out the dry season, it keeps its little valley green 
with trees and shrubs. , I observed what appeared 
to be the Esere or Calabar bean (Pkysostigma 
venenosum), whose hairy pod is very distasteful to 
the travelling skin : it was a " Mucuna urens." 

Another scramble upon a highly inclined hogs- 
back, where weather-worn brown-black granite, 
protruded bone-like from the clay flesh, placed us 
at the outlying village of Kinbembu, with its line 
of palms ; here the aneroid showed 1,322 feet 
After a short rest, the hammock men resumed 
work over a rough plateau : the rises were scat- 
tered with brush-wood, and the falls were choked 
with the richest vegetation. Every hill discharged 
its own rivulet bubbling over the rock, and the 
waters were mostly chalybeate. 

Presently appeared a kind of barracoon, a large 
square of thick cane-work and thatch about eight 
feet high, the Fetish house of the " Jinkimba" or 
circumcised boys, who received us with unearthly 
yells. After a march of an hour and three 
quarters, covering five indirect and three direct 
miles in a south-eastern rhumb, we reached Banza 
Nkaye, the royal village, where the sympiesometer 
showed 1430 feet. Our bearers yelled "Abubu- 
bu !" showing that we had reached our destination, 
and the villagers answered with a cry of " Ab(a-a-a ! " 
The entrance was triumphal : we left the river 


Up the Congo to Bama Nokki. 145 

with a tail of fifty-six which had swelled to 150" 
ragged followers. 

After a short delay we proceeded to the " pa- 
lace," which was distinguished from afar by a 
long projecting gable, forming a cool verandah. 
Descending some three hundred feet, we passed a 
familiar sight in Africa, where " arboribus suus 
horror inest." A tree-trunk bore three pegged 
skulls somewhat white with age ; eight years ago 
they were taken off certain wizards who had 
bewitched their enemies. A labyrinthine entrance 
of transparent cane-work served to prevent indecent 
haae, and presently we found ourselves in presence 
of the Mfumo, who of course takes the title of 
"Le Rei." Nessudikira was a "blanc-bec," aged 
twenty or twenty-one, who till lately had been a 
trading lad at Boma — now he must not look upon 
the sea. He appeared habited in the usual guy 
style: a gaudy fancy helmet, a white shirt with 
limp Byronic collar, a broad-cloth frock coat, a 
purple velvet gold-fringed loin-wrap : a theatrical 
da^er whose handle and sheath bore cut-glass 
emeralds and rubies, stuck in the waist-belt ; 
brass anklets depended over naked feet, and the 
usual beadle's cloak covered the whole. Truly a 
change for the worse since Tuckey's day, when a 
"savage magnificence" showed itself in the display 
of lions' and leopards' skins ; when no women were 
allowed to be present, and when the boys could 


146 Up the Congo to Bama NokkL 

' only clap hands : now the verandah is surrounded 
by a squatting crowd and resounds with endless 
chatter and scream. 

Nessudikira, whose eyes by way of grandeur 
never wandered from the floor, shook hands 
with us without rising from his chair, somewhat 
after the fashion of certain women in civilized 
society, who would be dignified, and who are not. 
His father, Gidi Mavunga, knelt before him on 
the ground, a mat being forbidden in the presence : 
he made the "batta-palmas" before he addressed 
his " filho de pistola," as he called him, in opposi- 
tion to filho de fazenda. The "king" had lately 
been crowned in virtue of his mother being a uterine 
sister of his predecessor. Here the goods and dig- 
nity of the father revert after death to his eldest 
maternal brother ; to his eldest nephew, that is, 
the eldest son of the eldest uterine sister, and, all 
others failing, to the first bom of the nearest ma- 
ternal relative. This subjection of sire to son is, 
however, mainly ceremonious : in private life the 
king wears a cotton pagne, and his "governor" 
asserts his birth-right even by wigging royalty. 

We disposed ourselves upon seamen's chests 
covered with red baize, fronting the semi-circle of 
frock-coated " gentlemen " and half-naked depend- 
ants and slaves. Proceedings began with the 
" mata-bicho" de rigtieur, the inevitable preliminary 
and conclusion of all life-business between birth 


Up the Congo (o Banm Nokki. 147 

and burial. The Congo traveller will hear 
"Nganna ! mata bicho " (Master I kill the worm, 
i.e., give me a dram), till the words seem, like 
"Bakhshish" further east, to poison his ears. This 
excuse for a drink arose, or is said to have arisen, 
from some epidemic which could be cured only by 
spirits, and the same is the tradition in the New 
World {"Highlands of the Brazil," i. chap. 38). 
Similarly the Fulas of the Windward coast, who as 
strict Moslem will not drink fermentetl liquors, hold 
a cup of rum to be the sovereignest thing in the 
world for taenia. The entozoon of course gives 
rise to a variety of stale and melancholy jokes 
about the early bird, the worm that dieth not, and 
so forth. 

Agreybeardofourgin was incontinently opened 
and a tumbler in a basin was filled to overflowing ; 
even when buying ground-nuts, the measure must 
be heaped up. The glass was passed round to 
the "great gentlemen," who drank it African 
fashion, expanding the cheeks, rinsing the mouth 
so that no portion of the gums may lose their 
share, and swallowing the draught with an affect- 
edly wry face. The basin then went to the " little 
gentlemen " below the salt, they have the " vinum 
garrulum," and they scrambled as well as screamed 
for a sup of the precious liquor. I need hardly 
quote Caliban and his proposed genuflections. 

1 had been warned by all the traders of the lower 


148 Up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 

river that Banza Nokki would be to me the far- 
famed point of which it was said, 

" Quern passar o Cabo de Nam 

Ou tomari, ou n3o," 
and prepared accordingly. Old Shimbal, the 
linguist, had declared that a year would be required 
by the suspicious " bush-men " to palaver over the 
knotty question of a stranger coming only to " make 
mukanda," that is to see and describe the country. 
M. Pissot was forbidden by etiquette to recognize 
his old employi (honours change manners here as 
in Europe), yet he set about the work doughtily. 
My wishes were expounded, and every possible 
promise of hammocks and porters, guides and 
interpreters, was made by the hosts. The royal 
helmet was then removed, and a handsome 
burnous was drawn over the king's shoulders, 
the hood covering the berretta in most grotesque 
guise. After which the commander and M. Pissot 
set out for the return march, leaving me with my 
factotum Selim and the youth Nchama Chamvu. 
To the question " Quid muliere levius ? " the 
scandalous Latin writer answers " Nihil," for 
which I would suggest " Niger." At the supreme 
moment the interpreter, who had been deaf to the 
charmer's voice (offering fifty dollars) for the last 
three days, succumbed to the " truant fever." He 
knew something of Portuguese ; and, having been 
employed by the French factory, he had scoured 


up the Congo to Banza Nokki. 149 

the land far and wide in search of " emigrants." 
He began well ; cooked a fowl, boiled some eggs, 
and made tea ; after which he cleared out a hut 
that was declared trh logeable, and found a native 
couch resembling the Egyptian kafas. 

We slept in a new climate : at night the sky 
was misty, and the mercury fell to 60° (F.). There 
was a dead silence ; neither beast nor bird nor 
sound of water was heard amongst the hills ; only 
at times high winds in gusts swept over the 
highlands with a bullying noise, and disappeared, 
leaving everything still as the grave. I felt once 
more " at home in the wilderness " — such, indeed, 
it appeared after Boma, where the cockney-taint 
yet lingered. 




AND first, touching the name of this 
noble and mysterious stream. Diogo 
Cam, the discoverer in 1485, called it 
River of Congo, Martin von Behaim 
Rio de PadrSo, and De Barros " Rio Zaire." The 
Portuguese discoveries utilized by Dapper thus 
corrupted to the sonorous Zaire, the barbarous 
Nzadi applied by the natives to the lower bed. 
The next process was that of finding a meaning. 
Philippo Pigafetta of Vicenza,' translated Zaire 
by " so, cioe Sapio in Latino ; *' hence Sandoval* 
made it signify " Rio de intendimiento," of under- 
standing. Merolla duly records the contrary. 
"The King of Portugal, Dom John II., having 
sent a fleet under D. Diego Cam to make dis- 
coveries in this Southern Coast of Africa, that 

• " Relazione del Reame di Congo, e delle circonvicine con- 
trade, tratta dagli Scritti e Raggionamenti di Odoardo Lopez, 
Portogheie, per Philippo Pigafetta." Roma, 1591, foL 

' " Historia de Etiopia," p. 65. 


Notes on the Congo River. 151 

admiral guessed at the nearness of the land by 
nothing so much as by the complexion of the 
waters of the Zaire ; and, putting into it, he asked 
of the negroes what river and country that was, 
who not understanding him answered 'Zevoco,' 
which in the Congolan tongue is as much as to 
say ' I cannot tell ; ' from whence the word being 
corrupted, it has since been called Zairo." 

D'Anville {1749), with whom critical African 
geography began, records " Barbela," a southern 
influent, perhaps mythical, named by his prede- 
cessors, and still retained in our maps : it is the 
Verbele of Pigafetta and the Barbele of Linschoten, 
who make it issue either from the western lake- 
reservoir of the Nile, or from the "Aquilunda" 
water, a name variously derived from O-Calunga, 
the sea (?), or from A-Kilunda, of Kilunda (?) 
The industrious compiler, James Barbot (1700), 
mentions the " Umbre," the modern Wambre, 
rising in the northern mountains or, according to 
P. Labat, in a lake : Dapper {1676), who so greatly 
improved the outline of Africa, had already derived 
with De Barros the " Rio Zaire " from a central 
reservoir " Zaire," whose island, the Zembre, after- 
wards became the Vambere, Wambre, and Zam- 
bere, now identified through the Zambeze with 
the Maravi, Nyassa or Kilwa water. The second 
or northernmost branch is the Bancora of mo- 
dem maps, the Brankare of Pigafetta, and the 


153 Notes on the Congo River. 

Bancari of Cavazzi ; it flows from the same moun- 
tain as the U mbre, and Duarte Lopez ( r 560) cause; 
it to mingle with the Zaire on the eastern borders 
of Pango, at the foot of the Sierra del Crystal. In 
certain modem maps the Bankare fork is called 
" Lekure,"and is made to receive the " Bambaye." 
The Barbela again anastomoses with the Luba (?) 
or northern section of the Coango, including its 
influent, the Lubilash ; the Kasai (Kasabi) also 
unites with the Coango, and other dotted lines 
show the drainage of the Lualaba into the Kasai. 
The Portuguese, according to Vasconcello, shun- 
ning all fanciful derivations, were long satisfied 
to term the Congo " Rio de Patron " (Rio do Pa- 
dr3o) from the first of memorial columns built 
at its mouth. In 1816 Captain Tuckey's expe- 
dition learned with Maxwell that the stream 
should be called, not Zaire, but Moienzi Enzaddi, 
the "great river" or the "river which absorbs 
all other rivers." This thoroughly corrupted name, 
which at once found its way into popular books, 
and which is repeated to the present day even by 
scientific geographers, suggested to some theorists 
" Zadi," the name of the Niger at Wassenah ac- 
cording to Sidi Hamet, as related by the American, 
James Riley, of the brig " Commerce," wrecked 
on August 28, 181 5: others remembered " Zad" 
which Shaykh Yusuf (Hornemann), misleading 
Mungo Park, learned to be the Niger east of 


Notes on tlie Congo River. 153 

Tbbuktu, "where it turns off to the southward." 
I need hardly say that this "Zadi" and " Zad " 
are evident corruptions of Bahr Shady, Shary, 
Shari, Chad, Tsad, and Chadda, the swampy lake, 
alternately sweet and brackish, which was formerly 
thrown by mistake into the Chadda River, now 
called the Binue or Bimiwe, the great eastern fork 
of the Negro-land Nile : the true drainage of the 
Chadda in ancient times has lately been determined 
by the adventurous Dr. Nachtigal. Mr. Cooley* 
applied, as was his wont, a superficial knowledge 
of Kibundo to Fiote or Congoese, and further 
corrupted Moienzi Enzaddi to Muenya (for Menha 
or Menya) Zinzidi — this Angolan "emendation," 
however, was not adopted. 

The natives dwelling upon the Congo banks 
have, as usual in Africa, no comprehensive generic 
term for the mighty artery of the West Coast 
Each tribe calls it by its own name. Thus even in 
Fiote we find " MuUngo," or " Ldngo," the water ; 
" Nkoko," the stream, " Mwdnza," the river, and 
"Mwinza Nnenne," the great river, all used 
synonymously at the several places. The only 
proper name is Mwinza Nzddi, the River Nzadi : 
hence Zaire, Zaire, Zahir, Zaira the " flumen 
Congo dim Zaida" (C. Barl^) — all corruptions 
more or less common. 

' "Geography of N'yassi," note, p. 51. 


154 Noles on ike Congo River. 

The homogeneous form of the African conti- 
nent causes a whimsical family resemblance, allow- 
ing for the difference of northern and southern 
hemispheres, in its four arterial streams — the 
Nile and Niger, the Congo and Zambeze. I neg- 
lect the Limpopo, called in its lower bed Espirito 
Santo, Manila, Manhi^a (Manyisa), and Delagoa 
River; the Cunene (Nourse) River, the Orange 
River, and others, which would be first-rate 
streams in Europe, but are mere dwarfs in the 
presence of the four African giants. The Nile 
and Niger, being mainly tenanted by Moslemized 
and comparatively civilized races, have long been 
known, more or less, to Europe. The Zambeze, 
owing to the heroic labours of Dr. Livingstone, is 
fast becoming familiar to the civilized world ; and 
the Congo is in these days (1873) beginning at 
last to receive the attention which it deserves. It 
is one of the npblest known to the world. Whilst 
the Mississippi drains a basin of 1,344,000 English 
square miles, and at Carrollton, in Louisiana, dis- 
charges as its mean volume for the year 675,000 
cubic feet of water per second, the Congo, with a 
valley area of 800,000 square miles, rolls at least 
2,500,000 feet Moreover, should it prove a fact 
that the Nzadi receives the Chambeze and its 
lakes, the Bangweolo (or Bemba), the Moero, near 
which stands the capital of the Cazembe, the 
Kamalondo, Lui or Ulenge, "Lake Lincoln" 


iM,Googlc j 

Notes on the Congo River. 155 

(Chibungo), and other unvisited waters, its area of 
drainage will nearly equal that of the Nile. 

The four arteries all arise in inner regions of 
the secondary age, subtended east and west by 
ghats, or containing mountains mostly of palaeozoic 
or primary formation, the upheaval of earth- 
quakes and volcanoes. These rims must present 
four distinct water-sheds. The sea-ward slopes 
discharge their superabundance direct to the ocean 
often in broad estuaries like the Gambia and the 
Gaboon, still only surface drains ; whilst the 
counterslopes pour inland, forming a network of 
flooded plains, perennial swamps, streams, and 
lakes. The latter, when evaporation will not 
balance the supply to a "sink," "escape from 
the basin of the central plateau-lands, and enter 
the ocean through deep lateral gorges, formed 
at some ancient period of elevation and disturbance, 
when the containing chains were" subject to trans- 
verse fractures." All four head in the region of 
tropical rains, the home of the negro proper, ex- 
tending 35° along the major axis of the continent, 
between Lake Chad (north latitude 14° to is"), 
and the Noka a Batletle or Hottentot Lake, 
known to the moderns as Ngami (south latitude 
20° to 21°). Consequently all are provided with 
lacustrine reservoirs of greater or smaller extent, 
and are subject to periodical inundations, varying 
in season, according as the sun is north or south 


156 Notes on the Congo River. 

of the line. Those of the northern hemisphere 
swell with the " summer rains of Ethiopia," a fact 
known in the case of the Nile to Democritus of 
Abdera ^5th cent. B.c.), to Agatharchidas of Cnidos 
(2nd cent. B.C.) to Pomponius Nida, to Strabo 
(xvii. i), who traces it through Aristotle up to 
Homer's "heaven-descended stream" and to Pliny 
(v. 10). For the same reason the reverse is the 
case with the two southern arteries ; their high 
water, with certain limitations in the case of the 
Congo, is in our winter. 

By the condition of their courses, all the four 
magnates are broken into cataracts and rapids at 
the gates where they burst through the lateral 
chains ; the Mosi-wa-tiinya (smoke that thunders) 
of the Zambeze, and the Ripon Falls discovered by 
Captains Speke and Grant upon the higher Nile, 
are the latest acquisitions to geography, whilst the 
" Mai waterfall," reported to break the Upper 
Congo, still awaits exploration. This accident of 
form suggests a division of navigation on the mari- 
time section and on the plateau-bed which, in due 
time, will be connected, like the St. Lawrence, by 
canals and railways. All but the Nzadi, and 
perhaps even this, have deltas, where the divided 
stream, deficient in water-shed, finds its sluggish 
way to the sea. 

The largest delta at present known is the Ni- 
gerian, whose base measures 155 direct geogra- 


Notes on the Congo River. 157 

phical miles between the Rivers Kontoro east, and 
Benin west Pliny (v. 9) makes the Nile delta 
extend 170 Roman miles, from the Canopic or 
African to the Pelusiac or Asiatic mouth, respec- 
tively distant from the apex 146 and 166 miles; 
the modern feature has been reduced to 80 miles 
from east to west, and a maximum of 90 from 
north to south. The Zambeze extends 58 miles 
between the Kilimani or northern and the west 
Luabo, Cuama or southern outlet — at least, if 
these mouths are not to be detached. The Nzadi 
is the smallest, measuring a maximum of only 
1 2 to 1 5 miles from the Malela or Bananal Creek 
to the mangrove ditches of the southern shore. 

In these depressed regions the comparatively 
salubrious climates of the uplands become dan- 
gerous to the European ; the people also are 
degraded, mostly pirates and water-thieves, as the 
Nigerian Ibos, the Congoese Musulungus, and 
the Landim (Amalandi) Kafirs about the lower 
Zambeze. There is a notable similarity in their 
productions, partly known to Pliny {v. 8), who 
notices " the calamus, the papyrus, and the ani- 
mals" of the Nigris and the Nile. The black- 
maned lion and the leopard rule the wold ; the 
gorilla, the chimpanzee, and other troglodytes 
affect the thinner forests ; the giraffe, the zebra, 
and vast hosts of antelopes scour the plains ; the 
turtle swims the seas ; and the hippopotamus, the 


158 Notes on the Congo River. 

crocodile, and various siluridae, some of gigantic 
size, haunt the lakes and rivers. The nymphsa, 
lotus or water-lily, forms rafts of verdure ; and the 
stream-banks bear the calabash, the palmyra, the 
oil-palm, and the papyrus. Until late years it was 
supposed that the water-lily, sacred to Isis, had 
been introduced into Egypt from India, where it 
is also a venerated vegetable, and that it had died 
out with the form of Fetishism which fostered it 
It has simply disappeared like the crocodile from 
the Lower Nile. Finally, to conclude this rapidly 
outlined sketch, all at the present moment happily 
share the same fate ; they are being robbed of 
their last mysteries ; the veil of Isis is fast yielding 
to the white man's grasp. 

We can hardly as yet answer the question 
whether the Congo was known to the ancients. 
Our acquaintance with the oldest explorations is 
at present fragmentary, and we are apt to assume 
that the little told us in our school-books is the 
sum-total of former exploits. But possibly in- 
scriptions in the New World, as well as in the 
Old, may confirm the " first circumnavigation " so 
simply recounted by Herodotus, especially that of 
the Phcenicians, who set out from the Red Sea, 
and in three years returned to the Mediterranean. 
The expression, " they had the sun to the right,' 
is variously explained. In the southern hemi- 
sphere the sailors facing west during our winter 


Notes on the Congo River. 159 

would see the sun at noon on the right, and in the 
northern hemisphere on the left But why should 
they face west? In the "Chronicle" of Schedel 
(p. ccxc, printed in 1793, Pigafetta, Pinkerton, 
xi. 412) we read: "These two, {Le. Jacob Cam 
and Martin Behem, or Behaim) by the help of the 
gods, ploughing the sea at short distance from 
shore, having passed the equinoctial line, entered 
the nether hemisphere, where, fronting the east, 
their shadow fell towards the south, and on their 
right hand." Perhaps it may simply allude to the 
morning sun, which would rise to port as they went 
southwards, and to starboard as they returned 
north. Again, the " First Overland Expedition " 
is related by the Father of History with all the sem- 
blance of truth. We see no cause to doubt that 
the Nasammones or Nasamones (Nds Amiin), the 
five young Lybians of the Great Syrtis (Fezzan) 
crossed the «ik«vji*i'hi (watered strip along the Medi- 
terranean), passed through the flBpiwJfli (the " bush") 
on the frontier, stilJ famed for lions, and the im- 
measurably sandy wastes (the Sahara proper, 
across which caravan lines run). The " band of 
little black men " can no longer be held fabulous, 
ance Miani and Schweinfurth added the Akya to 
M. du Chaillu's Obongo. The extensive marshes 
were the northern limit of the tropical rains, and 
the " City of Enchanters " is the type of many still 
existing in inner Africa. The great river flowing 


i6o Notes on the Congo River. 

from west to east, whose crocodiles showed it to 
be the Nile, must have been the Niger. The 
ancients knew middle Ethiopia to be a country 
watered by lakes and streams : Strabo (xvii. 3) 
tells us that " some suppose that even the Nile- 
sources are near the extremities of Mauritania." 
Hence, too, the Nilides, or Lake of Standing 
Water in Pliny (v. 10). For the most part they 
made a great central river traverse the northern 
continent from west to east, whereas the Arabian 
geographers of the middle ages, who were followed 
by the Portuguese, inverted the course. Both may 
be explained by the lay of the Quorra and the 
Bindwe, especially the latter; it was chronically 
confounded with the true Nile, whose want of 
western influents was not so well known then as 

The generation which has discovered the 
" Moabite Stone," the ruins of Troy (Schlie- 
mann), and the key to the inscriptions of Etruria 
(Corssen), need not despair of further progress. 
It has been well remarked that, whereas the 
course of modern exploration has generally been 
maritime, the ancients, whose means of naviga- 
tion were less perfect, preferred travelling by 
land. We are, doubtless, far better acquainted 
with the outlines of the African coast, and the 
immediately maritime region, than the Egyptians, 
the Greeks, the Romans, and the Arabs. But 


Notes on the Congo River. i6i 

it is still doubtful whether their information 
respecting the interior did not surpass ours. 
Eratosthenes, librarian of AleJtandria (b. c. 276- 
196) expresses correct notions concerning the 
upper course of the Nile ; Marinus of Tyre ^ had 
the advantage of borrowing from the pilot, Dio- 
genes, who visited the Nile reservoirs of central 
inter-tropical Africa, and Ptolemy has been justi- 
fied in certain important points by our latest 

No trace of the Nzadi or Congo is to be found 
in the Pelusian geographer, whose furthest point 
is further north. In the " Tabula Rotunda Roge- 
riana" of a.d. 1154 (Lelewel, No. X.) two lakes 
are placed upon the equator, and the north-western 
discharges to the Atlantic the river Kauga or 
Kanga, which the learned Mr. Hogg suspected to 
be the Congo. Marino Sanudo (1321), who has 
an idea of Guinea (Ganuya) and of Zanzibar (Zin- 
ziber), here bends Africa to the south-east, and 
inscribes, " Regio inhabitabilis propter calorem." 
Fra Mauro {1457) reduces " Ethiopia Occidentalis 
et Australis" to the minimum, and sheds the 
stream into the F. Xebe (Webbe or Galla-Somal 
River). Martin von Behaim of NUmberg(i492) in 
whose day Africa b^an to assume her present 

' See " Zanzibar City, Island, and Coast," vol. i. p. 5 
" Maiinus of Tyre" became by misprint " mariners of Tyre." 


1 62 Notes on the Congo River. 

form, makes the Rio de Padron drain the western 
face of the Montes Lunae. Diogo Ribera, chief 
piloted the Indies under Charles V. (Seville, 11529) 
further corrects the shape of the continent, and 
places the R. do PadrSo north, and the Rio dos 
Boms Sinhaes (Zambeze) south of the Montes 
Lunje. Mercator and Henry Hondt (1623) make 
the Zaire Lacus the northern part of the Zembre 
Lacus. John Senex {circ. 171 2) shows the "R. 
Coango," the later Quango, believed to be the great 
south-western fork of the Congo. It is not a little 
peculiar that the last of the classics, Claudius 
Claudianus, an Alexandrian Christian withal, de- 
scribes the Gir, or Girrhaeus, with peculiarly 
Congoese features. In " De laud. Stilicha" 
(lib. i. 252) we have — 

" Gir, notissimus anuois 
^thiopum, simili mentitus gm^te Nilum," ; 

And again (" Eidyll. in Nilum," 20) : 

" HuDC bibit inireiiis Garamas, domitorque feraium 
GirrtiEeus, qui vasta colit sub rupibus antra. 
Qui lamos ebeni, qui denies veUit ebunios." 

Here we find a Wady or torrent discharging 
into the Mediterranean, made equal to " Egypt's 
heaven-descended stream;" caused to flow under 
great rocks, as the Niger was long believed to 
pass underground to the Nile, of which it was a 
western branch ; and said to supply ebony, which 
is the characteristic not even of the Niger regions. 


Notes on the Congo River. 163 

but of the Zaire.' A little of this peculiar and 
precious commodity is produced by Old Calabar, 
east of the Nigerian delta, and southwards it 
becomes common. 

Pliny (v. 1) places his Gir (which some edi- 
tions read " Niger") "some distance" beyond the 
snowy Atlas. Ptolemy (iv. 6) tells us "in Medi- 
terrane^ ver6 fiuunt amnes maximi, nempe Gir 
conjungens Usargalam montem et vallem Gara- 
manticam, a quo divertens amnis continet secun- 
dum situm (east longitude) 42" (north latitude) — 
\(f" Again : " Et Nigir fluvius jungens et ipse 
Mandrum " (Mandara, south of Lake Chad ?) " et 
Thala monies " (the range near the western coast 
on the parallel of Cabo Blanco ?). " Facit autem 
et hie Nigritem Paludem " (Lake Dibbie or 
Debu, north-east of Sego and Sansanding ?) 
cujus situs i5''-i8°." 

Here the Gir, Ger, Gar, or Geir is clearly laid 
down as a Mediterranean stream, whilst " Niger" 
gave rise to the confusion of the Senegal with the 
tnie Niger. The name has greatly exercised 
commentators' ingenuity. D'Anville believes the 
Niger and the Gir to end in the same quarter of 
Africa, and the latter to be entirely unknown. 
Gosselin, agreeing with Pliny, whose Ger is the 

' Chap. xvii. of the Rev. Mr. Waddell's " Twenty-nine Years 
the West Indies and Ceatral Africa." 


164 Notes on tke Congo River. 

Nigir of the Greeks, places them south of the 
Atlas. Mr. Leake {loc. cii.) holds all conjecture 
useless. Not so the Rev. M. Tristram, whose 
geography is of the ornithological or bird's-eye 
order. In " The Great Sahara " (pp. 362-4, Ap- 
pendix I.), he asks, " May not the name Giris or 
Gir be connected with Djidi ? " i.e. the Wadi 
Mzi, a mean sink in El Areg, south of Al- 
geria. Graberg (" Morocco ") had already iden- 
tified it with the Ghir, which fiows through Sagel- 
messa; Burckhardt with the Jir, "a large stream 
coming from about north latitude 10°, and flowing 
north-west through the Wadaf, west of the bor- 
ders of Dar-Fur." No wonder that some geo- 
graphers are disposed to believe Gir, Giris, Ger, 
and Geir to be " a general native name for a river, 
like Bd " (Bahr), " Bi " (in many Central African 
tongues a river, Schweinfurth, ii. 241), "Quorra 
(Kwara), Guibi and Gambaru (the Yeou), Shadda, 
and Enzaddi." 

It is still interesting to consider the circum- 
stances which gave rise to Captain Tuckey's dis- 
astrous expedition. As any map of Africa during 
the early quarter of the present century, Bowdich 
or Dupuis for instance, may prove, the course 
of the Niger was laid down, now according to 
the ancients, then after Arab information. The 
Dark Continent, of which D'Anville justly said 
that writers abused, "pour ainsi dire, de la vasie 


Notes on the Congo River. 165 

carr^re que Cintirieur y latssaU prendre" ("M^m. 
de I'Acad. des Inscriptions," xxvi. 61), had not 
been subjected to scientific analysis ; this was 
reserved for the Presidential Address to the Roya! 
Geographical Society by the late Sir R I. Mur- 
chison, 1852. Geographers did not see how to 
pass the Niger through the " Kong Mountains, 
which, uniting with the Jebel Komri, are sup- 
posed to run in one unbroken chain across the 
continent;" and these Lunar Mountains of the 
Moslems, which were " stretched like a chaplet of 
beads from east to west," undoubtedly express, 
as M. du ChaiUu contends, a real feature, the 
double versant, probably a mere wave of ground 
between the great hydrographic basins of the 
Niger and the Congo, of North Africa and of 
Central Africa. Men still wasted their vigour 
upon the Nigritis Palus, the Chelonides waters, 
the Mount Caphas, and the lakes of Wangara, 
variously written Vancara and Vongara, not to 
mention other ways. Maps place " Wangara " to 
the north-west of Dahome, where the natives 
utterly ignore the name. Dupuis ("Ashantee," 
1824) suggests that, like "Taknir," it is an 
obsolete Moslem term for the 660 miles of mari- 
time region between Cape Lahu and the Rio 
Formoso or the Old Calabar River. This would 
include the three despotisms, Ashanti, Dahome, 
and Benin, with the tribes who, from a distance of 


1 66 Notes on the Congo River. 

twenty-five days, bring gold to Tinbuktu (the 
Tungubutu of De Barros, i. 220). Thus the 
lakes of Wangara would be the lagoons of the 
Slave-coast, in which the Niger may truly be said 
to lose itself. 

At length M. Reichard, of Lobenstein (" Eph^- 
merides G^ographiques," Weimar, 1802), theoreti- 
cally discovered the mouth of the Niger, by 
throwing it into the Bight of Benin. He was 
right in essentials and wrong in details ; for in- 
stance, he supposed the Rio Formoso or Benin 
River and the Rio del Rey to join in one great 
stream beyond the flat alluvial delta : whereas 
the former is indirectly connected through the 
Wari with the Niger, and the latter has no con- 
nection with it at all. The truth was received 
with scant courtesy, and the hypothesis was pro- 
nounced to be "worthy of very little attention." 
There were, however, honourable exceptions. In 
1813, the learned Malte-Brun (" Precis de la G6> 
graphie Universelle," vol. iv. 635) sanctioned the 
theory hinted at by Mungo" Park, and in 1828 the 
well-abused Caitli^, a Frenchman who had dared 
to excel Bruce and Mungo Park, wrote these re- 
markable words : " If I may be permitted. to hazard 
an opinion as to the course of the River Dhioliba, 
I should say that it empties itself by several 
mouths into the Bight of Benin." In 1829, forti- 
fied by Clapperton's opinion, my late friend, James 


Notes on the Congo River, 167 

Macqueen, who to immense industry added many 
qualifications of a comparative geographer, recom- 
mended a careful examination of the estuaries 
between the Rio Formoso and Old Calabar. The 
question was not finally set at rest till 1830 
(November rsth), when Richard and John Lander 
entered Yoruba vid Badagry and, triumphantly 
descending the lower Niger, made the sea by the 
" Nun " and Brass embouchures. 

Meanwhile, Mr. George Maxwell, a Scotchman 
who had long traded in the Congo, and who sub- 
sequently published a chart of the lower river 
proposed, at the end of the last century, to take 
from England six supernumerary boats for rowing 
and sailing, wkick could be carried by thirty people 
OTid portaged round the cataracts. This gave rise 
to Captain Tuckey's first error, depending upon 
labour and provisions, which were not to be had 
" for love or money " anywhere on the Congo 
above the Yellala. With thirty or forty black 
rowers, probably Cabinda men, Maxwell advised 
navigating the river about May, when the Cacimbo 
or dry season b^ns ; and with arms, provisions, 
and merchandize he expected to reach the sources 
in six weeks. The scheme, which was rendered 
abortive by the continental war of 1793, had 
two remarkable results. It caused Mungo Park's 
fatal second journey, and it led to the twin expe- 
ditions of Tuckey and Peddie. 


1 68 Notes on tke Congo River. 

In July, 1804, the ardent and irrepressible Scot 
wrote from Prior's Lynn, near Longtown, to a 
friend, Mr. William Kier, of Milholm, that the 
river " Enzaddi " was frequented by Portuguese, 
who found the stream still as lar^e as near the 
mouth, after ascending 600 miles. It is useful to 
observe how these distances are obtained. The 
slave-touters for the Liverpool and other dealers 
used, we are told, to march one month up country, 
and take two to return. Thirty days multiplied 
by twenty miles per diem give 600 miles. I need 
hardly point out that upon such a mission the 
buyer would be much more likely to travel 60 
miles than 600 in a single month, and I believe 
that the natives of the lower river never went be- 
yond Nsundi, or 215 indirect miles from Point 

With truly national tenacity and plausibility 
Perfervidum Ingenium contended that the Congo 
or Zaire was the Nigerian debouchure. Major 
Rennell, who had disproved the connection of the 
Niger and the Egyptian Nile by Bruce's baro- 
metric measurements on the course of the moun- 
tain-girt Bahr el Azrak, and by Brown's altitudes 
at Darfur, condemned the bold theory for the best 
of reasons. 

Mungo Park, after a brief coldness and coquet- 
ting with it, hotly adopted to the fullest extent the 
wild scheme. Before leaving England (Oct 4, 


Notes on the Congo River. 169 

1804), he addressed a memoir to Lord Camden, 
pxplaining the causes of his conversion. It is 
curious to note his confusion of " Zad," his belief 
that the " Congo waters are at all seasons thick 
and muddy," and his conviction that " the annual 
flood," which he considered perpetual, "commences 
before the rains fall south of the equator." The 
latter is to a certain extent true ; the real reason 
will presently be given. Infected by the enthu- 
siasm of his brother Scot, he adds, " Considered in 
a commercial point of view, it is second only to the 
discovery of the Cape of Good Hope ; and, in a 
geographical point of view, it is certainly the 
greatest discovery that remains to be made in this 

Thereupon the traveller set out for the upper 
Niger with the conviction that he would emerge 
by the Congo, and return tx) England vi& the 
West Indies. From the fragments of his Journal, 
and his letters to Lord Camden, to Sir Joseph 
Banks, and to his wife, it is evident that at San- 
sanding he had modified his theories, and that he 
was gradually learning the truth. To the former 
he writes, " I am more and more inclined to think 
that it (the Niger) can end nowhere but in the 
sea ;" and presently a guide, who had won his 
confidence, assured him that the river, after passing 
Kashna, runs directly to the right hand, or south, 
which would throw it into the Gulf of Guinea. 


170 Notes on the Congo River. 

The fatal termination of Park's career in 1805 
lulled public curiosity for a time, but it presently 
revived. The geographical mind was still excited 
by the mysterious stream which evaporation or 
dispersion drained into the Lake-swamps of Wan- 
gara, and to this was added not a little curiosity 
concerning the lamented and popular explorer's 
fate. We find instructions concerning Mungo 
Park issued even to cruizers collecting political and 
other information upon the East African coast ; 
e.g., to Captain Smee, sent in 181 1 by the Bombay 
Government. His companion, Lieutenant Hardy, 
converted Usagdra, west of the Zanzibar seaboard, 
into " Wangarah," and remarks, " a white man, 
supposed to be Park, is said to have travelled here 
twenty years ago" {"Observations," &c.). 

About ten years after Mungo Park's death, two 
expeditions were fitted out by Government to 
follow up his discovery. Major Peddie proceeded 
to descend the Niger, and Captain Tuckey to 
ascend the Congo. We have nothing to say of the 
former journey except that, as in the latter, every 
chief European officer died — Major Peddie, Captain 
Campbell, Lieutenant Stokoe, and M. Kummer, 
the naturalist The expedition, consisting of 100 
men and 200 animals, reached Kakundy June 13. 
1817, and there fell to pieces. Concerning the 
Zaire Expedition, which left Deptford on Febru- 
ary 16, 18 16, a few words are advisable. 


Notes on the Congo River. 171 

The personnel was left to the choice of the 
leader, Commander J. K. Tuckey, R. N. (died). 
There were six commissioned officers — Lieutenant 
John Hawkey, R.N. (died); Mr. Lewis Fitz- 
maurice, master and surveyor; Mr. Robert Hod- 
der and Mr. Robert Beecraft, master's mates ; 
Mr. John Eyre, purser (died) ; and Mr. James 
McKerrow, assistant surgeon. Under these were 
eight petty officers, four carpenters, two black- 
smiths, and fourteen able seamen. The marines 
numbered one sergeant, one corporal, and twelve 
privates. Grand total of combatants, forty-nine. 
To these were added five " savants " : Professor 
Chetien Smith, a Norwegian botanist and geolo- 
gist (died) ; Mr. Cranch, collector of objects of 
natural history (died) ; Mr. Tudor, comparative 
anatomist (died) ; Mr. Galway, Irishman and 
volunteer naturalist (died) ; and " Lockhart, a 
gardener" (of His Majesty's Gardens, Kew). 
There were two Congo n^jroes, Benjamin Benja- 
mins and Somme Simmons ; the latter, engaged as 
a cook's mate, proved to be a "prince of the 
blood," which did not prevent his deserting for 
fear of the bushmen. 

The allusions made to Mr. Cranch, a "joined 
methodist," and a " self-made man," are not com- 
plimentary. " Cranch, I fear," says Professor 
Smith, " by his absurd conduct, will diminish the 
liberality of the captain towards us : he is like a 


172 Notes on the Congo River. 

pointed arrow to the company." And, again, 
" Poor Cranch is almost too much the object of 
jest; Galway is the principal banterer." In the 
Professor's remarks on the " fat purser," we can 
detect the foreigner, who, on such occasions, 
should never be mixed up with Englishmen. 

Sir Joseph Banks had suggested a steamer 
drawing four feet, with twenty-four horse-power ; 
an admirable idea, but practical difficulties of con- 
struction rendered the " Congo " useless. Of the 
fifty-four white men, eighteen, including eleven of 
the "Congo" crew, died in less than three months. 
Fourteen out of a party of thirty officers and men, 
who set out to explore the cataracts vi& the 
northern bank, lost their lives; and they were 
followed by four more on board the " Congo," and 
one at Bahia. The expedition remained in the 
river between July 6th and October i8th, little 
more than three months; yet twenty-one, or nearly 
one-third, three of the superior officers and all the 
scientific men, perished. Captain Tuckey died of 
fatigue and exhaustion (Oct 4th) rather than of 
disease ; Lieutenant Hawkey, of fatal typhus 
(which during 1862 followed the yellow fever, in 
the Bonny and New CaJabar Rivers) ; and Mr. 
Eyre, palpably of bilious remittent. Professor 
Smith had been so charmed with the river, that 
he was with difficulty persuaded to return. Pro- 
strated four days afterwards by sickness on board 


Notes on the Congo River. 173 

the transport, he refused physic and food, because 
his stomach rejected bark, and, preferring cold 
water; he became delirious ; apparently, he died of 
disappointment, popularly called a "broken heart." 
Messrs-Tudor and Cranchalsofellvictims to bilious 
remittents, complicated, in the case of the latter, 
by the "gloomy view taken of Christianity by that 
sect denominated Methodists." Mr. Galway, on 
September 28th, visited Sangala, the highest rapid 
("Narrative," p. 328). In the Introduction, p. 80, 
we are wrongly told that he went to Banza Ninga, 
whence, being taken ill on August 24th, he was 
sent down stream. He, like his commander, had 
to sleep in the open, almost without food, and he 
also succumbed to fever, fatigue, and exhaustion. 
The cause of this prodigious mortality appears 
in the records of the expedition. Officers and 
men were all raw, unseasoned, and unacclimatized. 
Captain Tuckey, an able navigator, the author of 
" Maritime Geography and Statistics," had served 
in the tropics ; his biographer, however, writes 
that a long imprisonment in France and " resi- 
dence in India had broken down his constitution, 
and at the age of thirty (ob. xt. thirty-nine) his 
hair was grey and his head nearly bald." The 
men perished, . exactly like the missionaries of 
old, by hard work, insufficient and innutritions 
food, physical exhaustion, and by the doctor. At 
first " immediate bleeding and gentle cathartics " 


1/4 Notes on the Congo River. 

are found to be panaceas for mild fevers (p. 46) ; 
presently the surgeon makes a discovery as fol- 
lows : " With regard to the treatment I shall here 
only observe that bleeding was particularly unsuc- 
cessful. Catluutics were of the greatest utility, 
and calomel, so administered as speedily to induce 
copious salivation, generally procured a remission 
of all the violent symptoms." The phlebotomy 
was inherited from the missioners, who own 
almost to have blinded themselves by it. When 
one was "blooded" fifteen times and died, his 
amateur Sangrado said, " It had been better to 
have bled him thirty times : " the theory was 
that in so hot a climate all the European blood 
should be replaced by African. One of the entries 
in Captain Tuckey's diary is, " Awaking extremely 
unwell, I directly swallowed five grains of calomel" 
— a man worn out by work and sleeping in the 
open air! The " Congo" sloop was moored in a 
reach surrounded by hills, instead of being anchored 
in mid stream where the current of water creates 
a current of air ; those left behind in her died of 
palm wine, of visits from native women, and of 
exposure to the sun by day and to the nightly 
dews. On the line of march the unfortunate 
marines wore pigtails and cocked hats; stocks 
and cross-belts ; tight-fitting, short-waisted red 
coats, and knee-breeches with boots or spatter- 
dashes—even the stout Lord Clyde in his latest 


Notes on the Congo River. 175 

days used to recall the miseries of his march to 
Margate, and declare that the horrid dress gave 
him more pain thfin anything he afterwards en- 
dured in a life-time of marching. None seemed 
capable of calculating what amount of fatigue and 
privation the European system is able to support 
in the tropics. And thus they perished, sometimes 
of violent bilious remittents, more often of utter 
weariness and starvation. Peace to their manes ! 
— they did their best, and " angels can no more." 
They played for high stakes, existence against 
fame — 

" But the fair guerdon when we hope to find. 
Comes the bUnd Fury with th' abhorred shears. 
And slits the thin-spun life." 

"The Narrative of an Expedition to Explore 
the River Zaire" (London, John Murray, 18 18), 
published by permission of the Lords Commis- 
sioners of the Admiralty, was necessarily a posthu- 
mous work. The Introduction of eighty-two pages 
and the General Observations (fifty-three pages) 
are by anonymous hands ; follow Captain Tuc- 
ke/s Narrative, Professor Smith's Journal, and an 
Appendix with seven items; i, vocabularies of 
the Malemba and Embomma (Fiote or Congo) 
languages ; 2, 3, and 4, Zoology ; 5, Botany ; 
6, Geology ; and 7, Hydrography. The most 
valuable is No. 5, an admirable paper entitled 
" Observations, Systematical and Geographical, on 


1/6 Notes on the Congo River. 

Professor Christian Smith's Collection of Plants 
from the Vicinity of the River Congo, by Robert 
Brown, F.R.S." The " Geology," by Mr. Charles 
Konig, of the British Museum, is based upon very 
scanty materials. The folio must not be severely 
criticized ; had the writers lived, they might have 
worked up their unfinished logs into interesting 
and instructive matter. But evidently they had 
not prepared themselves for the work; no one 
knew the periods of rain at the equator ; there 
was no linguist to avoid mistakes in the vocabu- 
lary; moreover, Professor Smith's notes, being 
kept in small and ill-formed Danish characters, 
caused such misprints as "poppies" for papaws. 
Some few of the mistakes should be noticed for 
the benefit of students. The expedition appears 
to have confused S3o Salvador, the capital, with 
St Antonio placed seven days from the river 
mouth (p. 277). It calls Santo AntSo (Cape 
Verds) " San Antonio ; " the Ilha das R61as (of 
turtle doves) Rolle's Island; "morfil" bristles 
of the elephant's tail, and manafili ivory, both 
being from the Portuguese marfim ; moudela for 
mondele or mondelle, a white man ; malava, " pre- 
sents," for mulavu "(s. s. as msimbd, not maluvi, 
Douville), palm wine, which in the form mulavu 
m'putu (Portuguese) applies to wine and spirits. 
We have also " Leimba " for Lydmba or Dyimba 
(Cannabis settiva) ; " Macasso, a nut chewed by 
great people only," for Makazo, the bean of the 


Notes on the Congo River. 177 

Kola (Sterculia) ;' " Hyphjena" and " Dom" for 
Palmyra Flabelliformis, whose " fruit hangs down 
in bunched clusters ; " " Raphia " for Raphia 
Vinifera, commonly called the bamboo or wine 
palm, and " casa," a purgative l^Tjmen, for nkasa, 
" sass," or poison wood, identified with the red- 
water tree of Sierra Leone, the erythropheum of 
Professor Afzelius, of the order CEesalpineae, which 
gave a name to the Brazil. 

The next important visit to the Congo River 
was paid by Captain Owen's Expedition, when 
homeward bound in 1826. The "Leven" and 
"Barracouta" surveyed the stream twenty-five miles 
from its mouth during a week, beginning with 
January i, just after the highest flood. At thirteen 
miles out at sea the water was fresh and of a 
dingy red ; it fermented and remained in a highly 
putrescent state for some days, tarnishing silver ; 
kept for four months, it became perfectly clear and 
colourless, without depositing any sediment This 
reminds us of the changing colours, green, red 
and milky white, to which the Nile and all great 
African rivers that flood periodically are subject' 

' " Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery to Africa and Arabia," 
l>y Captain Thomas £oteIer. London: Bentley, 1835; re- 
peated ftom Owen's " Voyages to Africa, Arabia," &c. London : 
Bentley, 1833. Lt. Wolf, R.N., has given an able analysis of 
te great surveying undertaking in the "Journal of the Geo- 
paphicaJ Society," vol. iii. of 1833, 


178 Notes on the Congo River. 

The next traveller that deserves notice is the 
unfortunate Douville,' through whose tissue of im- 
posture runs a golden thread of truth. As his 
first journey, occupying nearly two of the three 
volumes, was probably confined to the Valley of 
the Cuanza River, so his second, extending beyond 
the equator, and to a meridian 25° east of Paris, 
becomes fable as he leaves the course of the Loge 
Stream. Yet, although he begins by doubting that 
the Coango and the Zaire are the same waters, 
he ends by recc^izing the fact, and his map justly 
lays down the Fleuve Couango dit Zaire d sott em- 
bouchure. Whether the tale of the mulatto sur- 
veyor be fact or not is of little matter : the adven- 
turer had an evident inkling of the truth. 

A flood of side light is thrown upon the head 
waters of the Congo River by Dr. Livingstone's first 
memorable journey (1852-56), across Africa, and 
by the more dubious notices of his third expedition 
The Introduction (p. xviii.) to Captain Tuckey's 
narrative had concluded from the fact of the highest 
flood being in March, and the -lowest level about 
the end of August, that at least one branch of the 
river must pass through some portion of the 
northern hemisphere. The general observations 
affixed to " Narrative" (p. 346), contain these words: 
" If the rise of the Zaire had proceeded from rains 

' See chap. v. 


Notes on the Congo River. 179 

to the southward of the Line, swelling the tributary 
streams and pouring in mountain torrents the 
waters into the main channel, the rise would have 
been sudden and Impetuous." Of course the writer 
had recourse to the " Lakes of Wangara," in north 
l^tude 12° to 15° ; that solution of the difficulty 
belonged inevitably to his day. ; Captain Tuckey 
(p. 178) learned, at Mavunda, that ten days of 
canoeing would take him beyond all the rapids to 
a lai^ sandy islet which makes two channels, one 
to the north-west, the other to the north-east In 
the latter there is a fall above which canoes are 
procurable : twenty days higher up the river issues, 
by many small streams, from a great marsh or lake 
of mud.' Again, a private letter written froih the 
" Yellala" (p. 343) declares that " the Zaire would 
be found to issue from a lake or a chain of lakes 
considerably to the north of the Line ; and, so far 
from the low state of the river in July and 
At^st militating against the hypothesis, it gives 
additional weight, provided the river swell in 
early September" — which it did. In his " Journal " 
{p. 224), we find a memorandum, written as it were 
widi a dying hand, " Hypothesis confirmed. The 
water ..." 

On February 24, 1854, Dr. Livingstone, after 
leaving what he calls the " Dilolo Lake," found on 

' Of this lake I shall have something to say io chap. xii. 


i8o Notes on the Congo River. 

an almost level plain, some 4,000 to 5,000 feet 
high and then flooded after rains, a great water 
parting between the eastern and the western con- 
tinental shores. I have carefully considered the 
strictures upon this subject by the author of " Dr. 
Livingstone's Errors" (p. loi), and have come to 
the conclusion that the explorer was too expe- 
rienced to make the mistakes attributed to him by 
the cabinet geographer. The translation " despair" 
for " bitterness" (of the fish ?) and the reference to 
Noah's Deluge may be little touches adcapiandum ; 
but the Kibundo or Angolan tongue certainly 
has a dental though it lacks a cerebral d. 

The easterly flow was here represented by the 
Leeba or upper course of the " Leeambye," the 
" Diambege of Ladislaus Magyar, that great 
northern and north-western course of the Zambeze , 
across which older geographers had thrown a dam I 
of lofty mountains, where the Mosi- wa-tiinya 
cataract was afterwards discovered. The opposite 
versant flowing to the north was the Kasai or Kasye 
(Livingstone), the Casais of the Pombeiros, the 
Casati of Douville, the Casasi and Cas^zi of M 
Cooley (who derives it from Casezi, a priest; the 
corrupted Arabic Kissfs !) ; the Kassabi (Casabi) 
of Beke, the Cassaby of Monteiro and Gamitto (p- 
494), and the Kassaby or Cassay of Valdez. Its 
head water is afterwards called by the explorer 
Lomame and Loke, possibly for Lu-oke, because it 


Notes on- the Congo River. i8i 

drains the highlands of Mossamba and the district 
of Ji-oke, also called Ki-oke, Kiboke, and by the 
Portuguese " Quiboque." The stream is described 
as being one hundred yards broad, running through 
a deep green glen like the Clyde. The people at- 
tested its length by asserting, in true African style, 
" If you sail along it for months, you will turn with- 
out seeing the end of it ; " European geographers 
apparently will not understand that this declaration 
shows only the ignorance of the natives concemipg 
everything a few miles beyond their homes. The 
explorer (February 27, 1854) places the ford in 
soudi latitude 1 1° 15' 4/', and his map shows east 
longitude (G.), 2i''4o'3o", about 7° 30' (=450 direct 
geographical miles) from Novo Redondo on the 
Western Coast He dots its rise in the " Balobale 
country," south latitude 12° to 13°, and east longi- 
tude ig''to20°. Pursuing his course, Dr. Living- 
stone (March 30) first sighted the Quango (Coango) 
as it emerged from the dark jungles of Londa, a 
giant Clyde, some 350 yards broad, flowing down 
an enormous valley of denudation. He reached it 
on April, 1854, in south latitude 9" 53', and east 
longitude (G.) 18" 37', about 300 geographical 
linear miles from the Atlantic. Three days to the 
west lies the easternmost station of Angola, Cas- 
sange: no Portuguese lives, or rather then lived, 
beyond the Coango Valley. The settlers informed 
him that eight days' or about 100 miles' march 


i82 Notes on the Congo River. 

south of this position, the sources are to be found 
in the " Mosamba Range" of the Basongo country ; 
this would place them in about south latitude la" 
to 13° and east longitude (G.) 18° to 19°. 

The heights are also called in Benguela Nanos, 
Nannos, or Nhanos (highlands) ;' and in our latest 
maps they are made to discharge from their sea- 
ward face the Coango and Cuanza to the west and 
north, the Kasai to the north-east and possibly to 
the Congo, the Cunene south-westwards to the 
Atlantic, and southwards the Kubango, whose 
destination is still doubtful. Dr. Charles Beke 
("Athen;eum,"No. 2206, February 5, 1870), judged 
from various considerations that the " Kassdbi " ris- 
ing in the primeval forests of Olo-vihenda, was 
the "great hydrophylacium of the continent of 
Africa, the caitral point of division between the 
waters flowing to the Mediterranean, to the Atlantic, 
and to the Indian Ocean" — in fact, the head-water 
of the Nile. I believe, however, that our subsequent 
information made my late friend abandon this 

On his return march to Linyanti, Dr. Living- 
stone, who was no longer incapacitated by sickness 
and fatigue, perceived that all the western feeders 
of the " Kasa " flow first from the western side 
towards the centre of the continent, then gradually 

* See "The Lands of the Cazembe," p. 24. 


Notes on the Congo River. 183 

turn with the main stream itself to the north, and 
"afterthe confluence of the Kasai with the Quango, 
an immense body of water collected from all these 
branches, finds its way out of the country by means 
of the River Congo or Zaire, on the Western 
Coast" (chap. xxii.). He adds : " There is but one 
opinion among the Balonda respecting the Kasai 
and the Quango. They invariably describe the 
Kasai as receiving the Quango, and beyond the 
confluence assuming the name of Zair£ or Zer^zer^. 
And thus he verifies the tradition of the PortQ- 
guese, who always, speak of the Casais and the 
Coango as "supp6sto Congo." It is regfrettable that 
Dr. Livingstone has not been more explicit upon 
the native names. The Balonda could hardly have 
heard of the semi-European term Zaire, which is 
utteriy unknown even at the Yellalas. On the 
other hand, it must be borne in mind that Maxwell 
iras informed by native travellers that the river 
600 miles up country was still called " Enzaddi," 
and perhaps the explorer merely intends Zair6 to 
explain Zer^zer^. It is hardly necessary to notice 
Douville's assertion (ii. 372). 

Meanwhile the late Ladislaus Magyar, who had 
previously informed the Benguelan Government 
that the Casais was reported to fall into the 
Indian Ocean at some unknown place, in 1851 
followed this great artery lower than any known 
traveller. He heard that, beyond his furthest 


184 Notes on the Congo River. 

exploration point (about south latitude 6° 30,' and 
east longitude, G. 22°), it pursues a north-easterly 
direction and, widening several miles, it raises 
waves which are dangerous to canoes. The waters 
continue to be sweet and fall into a lake variously 
called Mouro or Moura (Morive or Marivi ?), 
Uhanja or Uhenje (Nyanza ?), which is suspected 
to be the Urenge or Ulenge, of which Livingstone 
heard in about south latitude 3°, and east longi- 
tude (G.) 26°. The Hungarian traveller naturally 
identified it with the mythical Lake Nyassa which 
has done such portentous mischief in a day now 
gone by. Ladislaus Magyar also states :* " The 
Congo rises, I have convinced myself by reports, 
in the swamp named Inhan-ha occupying the high 
plateau of Moluwa, in the lands of the Lubi, 
uniting with the many streams of this r^ion ; at 
a distance of about five days from the source it 
becomes a deep though narrow river, which flows 

• Pctermann's "Geog. Mitt." of i860, pp. 237-235. I have 
duly obt^ned at Pest the pennission of Professor Hunfilvy, 
who in 1859 edited the Hungarian and German issues, to trans- 
late into English the highly intaesting volume, the only remains 
of Ladislaus Magyar, the traveller having died, Nov. 19, 1864, 
after visiting large and previously unknown tracts of south- 
western Africa. The work has been undertaken by the Rev. R. 
C. G. O'Callaghan, consular chaplain, Trieste, and I hope that 
it will soon appear with notes by myself. It will be a fitting 
pendant to Dr. de Lacerda's " Journey to the Lands of the Ca- 

* "Geog. Mitt." 1857, p. 190. 


Notes on the Congo River. 185 

to the westward, through a level country covered 
with dense forests, whose frequent streams coming 
from the north (?) and south are taken up by the 
river; then it bends north-westward under the name 
of Kuango." Here we find the drowned lands, the 
"sponges" of Livingstone, who, however, placed 
the sources much further to the south-east 

Dr. Livingstone's third and last expedition, 
which began on March 24, 1866, and which ended 
(1873) with fatal fitness in the swamps of the 
Bangweolo, . suggests a new and more distant 
derivation for the mighty Congo. After travelling 
from the Rovuma River to Lake Nyassa, the great 
explorerin i867-8cameuponan "earthem mound," 
west of Lake Bangweolo or Bemba, in about south 
latitude 1 1° ; and here he places the sources of the 
Nile, where geographers have agreed provision- 
ally to place the sources of the Congo. Already, 
in 1518, Fernandez de Enciso {Suma de Geo- 
graphia), the "theoretical discoverer" of Kilima- 
njaro, was told by the Congoese that their river 
rises in high mountains, from which another great 
stream flows in an opposite direction — but this 
might apply to more watersheds than one. The 
subject is treated at considerable length in an 
article by Dr. E. Behm,' certain of whose remarks 
I shall notice at the end of this chapter. 

' " Proofs of the identity of the Lualaba with the Congo ; " 


i86 Notes on the Congo River. 

The article proves hypsometrically that the 
Lualaba, in which the explorer found the head 
waters of the Egyptian river, cannot feed the Tan- 
ganyika nor the Lake Nzige (N'zfghe, Mwutan, 
Chowambe, or Albert Nyanza Lake), nor even the 
Bahr el Ghazal, as was once suspected. From the 
latter, indeed, it is barred by the water parting of 
the Welle, the " Babura" of Jules Poncet ( i860), in 
the land of the Monbuttii ; whose system the later 
explorer, Dr. Schweinfurth, is disposed to connect 
with the Shari. Hydrometrically considered, the 
Lualaba, which at Nyangwe, the most northerly 
point explored by Dr. Livingstone (1870), rolls a 
flood of 124,000 cubic feet per second in the dry 
season, cannot be connected either wiUi the Welle 
(5,100 cubic feet), nor with the Bahr el Ghazal 
(3,042 to 6,500 cubic feet), nor with the Nile 
below the mouth of the Bahr el Ghazal (11,330) ; 
nor with the Shari (67,500) ; nor with the shallow 
Ogobe, through its main forks the Rembo Okanda 
and the Rembo Nguye 

But the Lualaba may issue through the Congo. 
The former is made one of the four streams ferried 
over by those travelling from the Cazembe to the 

translated by Mr. Keith Johnston fcom the " Geogr. Mittheil- 
ungea," i. 18, Bund, 1872, aad published in the " Proceedings 
of the Royal Geographical Society," No. i, vol. xviii. of Feb. 24, 


Notes on the Congo River. 187 

Mwata ya Nvo, and Dr. de Lacarda* records it 
as die " Guarava," probably a dialectic form of 
Lualava. ItistheLuapulaof the " Geographer of 
N'yassi," who, with his usual felicity and boldness 
of conjecture (p. 38), bends it eastward, and dis- 
charges it into his mythical Central Sea. 

Dr. Behm greatly under-estimates the Congo 
when he assigns to it only 1,800,000 cubic feet per 
second. He makes the great artery begin to rise 
in November instead of September and decrease 
in April, without noticing the March-June freshets, 
reported by all the natives to measure about one- 
third of the autumnal floods. His elements are 
taken from Tuckey, who found off the " Diamond 
Rock" a velocity of 3^50 knots an hour, and from 
Vidal's Chart, showing 9,000 English feet or i "50 
nautical miles In a Thalweg fifty fathoms deep. 
Thus he assumes only two nautical miles for the 
current, or sixty inches per second, which must be 
considerably increased, and an average depth of 
ten fathoms, which again is too little. For 1,800,000 
cubic feet of water per second, which Tuckey 
made 2,000,000, we may safely read 2,500,000. 

Dr. Livingstone himself was haunted by the 
idea that he was exploring the Upper Congo, not 
the Nile. From a Portuguese subordinate he 
" learned that the Luapula went to Angola." He 

^ " The Lands of the Cazembe," p. 47. 


1 88 Notes on ike Congo River. 

asks with some truth, " Who would care to risk 
being put into a cannibal pot, and be converted 
into blackman for anything less than the grand 
old Nile ? " And the late Sir Roderick I. Murchi- 
son, whose geographical forecasts were sometimes 
remarkable, suspected long ago* that his "illustrious 
friend " would follow the drainage of the country 
to the western coast 

The " extraordinary quiet rise of the periodical 
flood," proved by the first expedition, argues that 
the Congo " issues from the gradual overflowing 
of a lake or a chain of lakes." The increment In 
the lower bed, only eight to twelve feet where the 
Nile and the Ganges rise thirty and the BiniSwe 
fifty, would also suggest that it is provided with 
many large reservoirs. The Introduction to 
Tuckey's " Narrative" (p. xviii.) assumes that the 
highest water is in March, but he entered the 
stream only on July 6, and the expedition ended 
in mid-October. The best informants assured 
me that from March till June there are heavy 
freshets. As in the Ogobe, the flood begins in 
early September, somewhat preceding that of the 
Lualaba, but, unlike the former stream, it attains 
its highest in November and December, and it 
gradually subsides from the end of June till 
August, about which time the water is lowest 

> " Daily Telegraph," Sept. 6, 1869. 


Notes on the Congo River. 189 

In the middle r^on of the Tanganyika, I found 
the rainy season lasting from September to May. 
At Lake Liemba, the south-eastern projection of 
the Tanganyika, Dr. Livingstone in 1867 saw no 
rain from May 12 to September, and in Many- 
wema-land, west of the central Tanganyika, about 
south latitude 5°, the wet season b^fan in No- 
vember, and continued till July with intervals, 
marking the passage of the belt of calms. But, 
for the Congo to rise in September, we must 
assume the rains to have fallen in early August, 
allowing ten or fifteen days for the streams to 
descend, and die rest for the saturation of the 
land. This postulates a supply from the Central 
African regions far north of the equator. Even for 
the March- June freshets, we must also undoubtedly 
gb north of the Line, yet Herr H. Kiepert' places 
the northernmost influent of Congo some 150 
miles south of the equator. Under these limita- 
tions I agree with Dr. Behm : — " Taking every- 
thing into consideration, in the present state of our 
knowledge, there is the strongest probability that 
the Lualaba is the head stream of the Congo, and 
the absolute certainty that it has no connection 
with the Nile or any other river (system) of the 
northern hemisphere." And again : " As surely 
as the sun stands over the southern hemisphere in 

' " Erlauterungen," &c. Berlin: Dietrich Reiroer, 1874. 


190 Notes on the Congo River. 

our winter and the northern in our summer, 
bringing the rains and the swellings of the tro- 
pical rivers when it is in the zenith with regard 
to them, so surely can it be predicated, from a 
comparison of the rainy seasons and times of 
rising, that the Lualaba beloi^ to no river of the 
northern hemisphere ; in the southern hemisphere 
Africa possesses only one river, the Congo, which 
could take up the vast water supply of the 
Lualaba." The Brazil shows the curious feature 
of widely different and even opposite rainy 
seasons in the same parallel of latitude ; but this is 
not the place to discuss the subject 

Since these lines were written, I have to lament 
the collapse of the Livingstone-Congo Expedition. 
In 1872 the great explorer's friends, taking into 
consideration the prospect of his turning west- 
ward, organized a "relief" from West as well as 
from East Africa. Mr. J. Young, of Kelly, 
generously supplied the sinews of travel, and Mr. 
Clements R. Markham, Secretary of the Royal 
Geographical Society, lent important aid in pre- 
paring the exploration. Navigating- Lieutenant 
W. J. Grandy, who had seen service on the 
eastern coast of Africa, landed at S. Paulo de 
Loanda in early 1873, and set out from Ambriz 
in March of that year. The usual difficulties 
were met and overcome, when Lieutenant Grandy 
was summarily recalled. The official explanation 


Notes on ike Congo River. 191 

("Royal Geographical Society," December 14th, 
1874), is that the measure was in consequence of 
Livingstone's death. The traveller himself says : 
— "Compljfing with instructions, we, with many 
r^rets at the idea of leaving our work unfin- 
ished when all seemed so full of promise, com- 
menced preparations for the return,' leaving good 
presents with the chiefs, in order to procure a 
good reception for those who might come after 
us." An Ex-President of the Royal Geographical 
Society had asserted, " The ascent of the (Upper) 
Congo ought to be more productive of useful geo- 
graphical results than any other branch of African 
exploration, as it will bring to the test of experi- 
ment the navigability of the Gingo above the 
Falls, and thus possibly open out a means of 
introducing traffic by steam into the heart of the 
continent at least two thousand miles from the 
mouth of the river." 

With this explicit and stimulating assertion 
before us, we must lament that England, once 
the worthy rival in exploration of Spain, Portugal, 
and the Netherlands, is now too poor to support a 
single exploration on the West African Coast, 
when Germany is wealthy enough liberally to sub- 
sidize two. 


192 Notes on the Congo River. 

A nous deux. Dr. E. Behm ! 

My objections to your paper are the three fol- 
lowing : I. It generally understates the volume 
of the Nzadi, by not allowing sufficiently for the 
double equinoctial periods of high water, March to 
June, as well as September to December ; and by 
ignoring the north-equatorial supply. 2. It arbi- 
trarily determines the question of the Tanganyika, 
separating it from the Nile-system upon the 
insufficient strength of a gorilla, and of an oil-palm 
which is specifically different from that of the 
Western Coast ; and 3. It wilfully misrepresents 
Dr. Livingstone in the matter of the so-called 
Victoria Nyanza. 

My first objection has been amply discussed. 
I therefore proceed to consider the second. As 
Mr. Alexander G. Findlay observed (" Proceedings 
of the Royal Geographical Society," No. 3, vol. 
xvii. of July 28, 1873) : — " Up to the time of 
Stanley's arrival at Ujiji, and his journey to the 
north of the lake, Livingstone was fully im- 
pressed with the conviction that the Tanganyika 
is nothing more than what he called a ' lacus- 
trine river' (329 miles long by twenty of average 
breadth) ; flowing steadily to the north and 
forming a portion of the Great Nile Basin. The . 


Notes on the Congo River. 193 

letters containet^ his reasons for formi'ng that 
opinion, stating that he had been for weeks and 
months on the shores of the lake watching the 
flow of the water northwards" (at the rate of a 
knot per hour). At times the current appeared to 
run southwards, but that was under the influence 
of strong northerly winds. Also by Dr. Living- 
stone's letters to Sir Thomas Maclear and Dr. 
Mann (" Proceedings of the Royal Geographical 
Society," No. i of 1873, pp. 69-70), it is evident 
that the explorer believed only in the lake outlet 
north of Ujiji. Again, Mr. Findlay, after atten- 
tively considering the unsatisfactory visit of Dr. 
Livingstone and Mr. Stanley to the Rusizi River in 
November and December, 1871, holds it to be a 
mere marsh-drain, which when the south winds 
prevail, would possibly flow in the opposite direc- 
tion ; and he still believes that Captain Speke and 
I, when at Uvira, were within five or six miles of 
the head. 

Since Dr. Livingstone's visit we have heard 
more upon this disputed subject. A native of 
Karagwah assured my friend Sir Samuel Baker 
— who, despite all prepossessions, candidly accepted 
the statement — that it is possible and feasible to 
canoe from Chibero.on the so-called Albert Nyanza, 
past Uvira, where the stream narrows and where 
a pilot is required, to the Arab d^p6t, Ujiji. He 
described the northern portion of the Tanganyika 


194 Notes on the Congo River. 

as varying much in breadth, immensely wide be- 
yond Vacovia, and again contracting at Uvira. 
His report was confirmed by a Msawahili, sent by 
King Mtesa, with whom he had lived many years, 
to communicate with Baker Pasha at Fatiko ; this 
man knew both Uvira and Ujiji, which he called 
" Uyiyi." Nothing can be more substantial than 
this double testimony, which wears all the sem- 
blance <rf truth. 

On the other hand, Lieut Cameron, whose ad- 
mirable work has, so to speak, re-constructed the 
Tanganyika Lake, discovered, on the 3rd of May, 
1874, the Lukuga River, which he supposes to form 
the outlet. It lies 25 direct miles to the south of 
the Kasenge Archipelago, numbering seventeen 
isles, visited by Captain Speke in March, 1857. 
Dr. Livingstone touched here on July 13, 1869, and 
heard nothing of the outlet ; he describes a current 
sweeping round Kasenge to south-east or south- 
wards according to the wind, and carrying trees 
at the rate of a knot an hour. But Mr. Stanley 
(pp. 400 et passim) agrees with Dr. Krapf, who 
made a large river issue from " the lake " west- 
wards, and who proposed, by following its course, 
to reach the Atlantic The " discoverer of Living- 
stone" evidently inclines to believe that the Tan- 
ganyika drains through the caverns of Kabogo 
near Uguhha, and he records the information of 
native travellers that " Kabogo is a great moun- 


Notes on the Congo River. 195 

tain on the other side of the Tangatiyika, full of 
deep holes, into which the water rolls ;" moreover, 
that at the distance of over a hundred miles he 
himself heard the " sound of the thundering surf 
which is said to roll into the caves of Kabogo." ■ In 
his map he 'cutely avoids inserting anything beyond 
" Kabogo Mountains, 6,000 to 7,000 feet high." 

The gallant young naval lieutenant's explora- 
tion of the Lukuga has not yet reached us in a 
satisfactory form. He found the current sluggishly 
flowing at the rate of i '2 knots per hour ; he fol- 
lowed it for four or five miles, and he was stopped 
by floating grass and enormous rushes {papyri ?). 
A friendly chief told him that the Lukuga feeds 
the Lualaba which, beyond Nyangwe (Living- 
stone's furthest point, in about south latitude 4°) 
takes the name of Ugarowwa. An Arab had de- 
scended this stream fifty-five marches, and reached 
a place where there were ships and white mer^ 
. chants who traded largely in palm-oil and ivory, 
both rare on the Congo River. And, unfortunately, 
" the name (River) Congo was also mentioned," a 
term utterly unknown except to the few Portuguese- 
^)€aking natives. 

At present, therefore, we must reserve judg- 
ment, and the only conclusion to which the unpro- 
fessional reader would come is that the weight of 
authority is in favour of a double issue for the 
Tanganyika, north and west 


196 Notes on ike Congo River. 

The wilful misrepresentation is couched in these 
words : " The reports obtained by Livingstone are 
if anything favourable to the unity of the Victoria 
Nyanza (Ukerewe, Ukara.) because along with it 
he names only such lakes as were already known 
to have a separate existence from it" As several 
were recognized, ergo it is one 1 Dr. Livingstone 
heard from independent sources that the so-caWed 
Victoria Nyanza is a lake region, not a lake ; his 
account of the Okara (Ukara), and the three or 
four waters run into a single huge sheet, is substan- 
tially the same as that which, after a study of the 
Rev. Mr. Wakefield's Reports I offered to the 
Royal Geographical Society, and which I subse- 
quently published in " Zanzibar City, Island, and 
Coast" You, Dr. Behm, are apparently satisfied 
with a lake drained by an inverted delta of half-a- 
dozen issues — I am not Nor can I agree with 
you that " whether the Victoria Nyanza is one 
lake or several is a point of detail of less import- , 
ance," when it has disfigured the best maps of 
Africa for nearly a score of years. The last intelU- 
gence concerning the " unity" of the lake is from 
Colonel C. C. Long, a staff-officer in the ser- 
vice of His Highness the Khedive, who was sent 
by Colonel Gordon on a friendly mission to King 
Mtesa of Ugandju With permission to descend 
" Murchison Creek," and to view " Lake Victoria 
Nyanza," Colonel Long, after a march of three hours, 


Notes on the Congo River. 197 

took boat He sounded the waters of the lake, and 
found a depth of from 25 to 35 feet ; in clear wea- 
ther the opposite shore was visible, appearing " to 
an unnaudcal eye" from 1 2 to I5 miles distant ; nor 
could this estimate be greatly wrong. After much 
negotiation and opposition he obtained leave to 
return to Egyptian territory by water, and on the 
way, in north latitude 1° 30', he discovered a 
second lake or " large basin," at least 20 to 25 
miles wide. The geography is somewhat hazy, 
but the assertions are not to be mistaken. 

Finally, I read with regret such statements as the 
following, made by so well-known a geographer 
as yourself : " Speke's views have been splendidly 
confirmed ; the attacks of his opponents, especially 
of Burton, who was most inimically inclined to 
him, collapse into nothing." This unwarrantable 
style of assertion might be expected from the 
" Mittheilungen," but it is not honourable to a man 
of science. There are, you well know, three main 
points of difference between the late Captain 
Speke and myself. The first is the horse-shoe of 
mountains blocking up the northern end of the 
Tanganyika ; this, after a dozen years, I succeeded 
in abolishing. The second is the existence of the 
Victoria Nyanza, which I assert to be a lake region, 
not a lake ; it is far from being a " point of detail," 
and I hope presently to see it follow the way of 
the horse-shoe. Thirdly is the drainage of the 


198 Notes on the Congo River. 

Tanganyika, which Captain Speke threw south- 
ward to the Zambeze, a theory now universally 
abandoned. This may be your view of " splendid 
confirmation" — I venture to think that it will not 
be accepted by the geographical world.- 




WAS now duly established with my 

books and instruments at Nkaye, and 

the inevitable delay was employed in 

studying the country and the people, 

and in making a botanical collection. But the 

season was wholly unpropitious. A naval ofBcer, 

who was considered an authority upon the Coast, 

had advised me to travel in September, when a 

journey should never begin later than May. The 

vegetation was feeling the effect of the Cacimbo; 

most of the perennials were in seed, and the annuals 

were nearly dried up. The pictorial effects were 

those of 

" Autumn laying here and there 
A fiery finger on the leaves." 

Yet, with Factotum Selim's assistance, I managed 
to collect some 490 specimens within the fortnight 
We had not the good fortune of the late Dr. Wel- 


200 Life at Banza Nokki. 

witsch (Welwitschia mirabilis), but there is still a 
copious treasure left for those who visit the Congo 
River in the right season. 

I was delighted with the country, a counterpart 
of the Usumbara Hills in Eastern Africa, disposed 
upon nearly the same parallel. The Cacimbo 
season corresponded with the Harmattan north of 
the Line ; still, grey mornings, and covered, rain- 
less noons, so distasteful to the Expedition, which 
complained that, from four to five days together, it 
could not obtain an altitude. The curious contrast 
in a region of evergreens was not wanting, the 
varied tintage of winter on one tree, and upon 
another the brightest hues of budding spring. 
The fair land of grass and flowers "rough but 
beautiful," of shrubbery-path, and dense mottes or 
copse islets, with clear fountains bubbling from the 
rocks, adorned by noble glimpses of the lake-like 
river, and of a blue horizon, which suggested the 
ocean — ever one of the most attractive points in an 
" * ' ran landscape, — was easily invested by the eye 
.ncy with gold and emerald and steely azure 
above, whilst the blue masses of bare mountain, 
vn against a cloudless sky, towered over the 
:-green sea of vegetation at their base, like 
:rgs rising from the bosom of the Atlantic. 
! in the Brazilian Rio de Sao Francisco, the 
niles between the mouth and the hill-region 
; a radical change of climate. Here the suns 


Life at Bama NokH. 201 

are never too hot, nor are the moons too cold ; the 
nights fall soft and misty, the mornings bring the 
blessing of freshness ; and I was never weary of en- 
joying the effects of dying and reviving day. The 
most delicate sharpness and purity of outline took 
the place of meridian reek and blur ; trees, rocks, 
and chalets were picked out with an utter disregard 
to the perspective of distance, and the lowest 
sounds were distinctly heard in the hard, clear 
atmosphere. The damp and fetid vegetation of 
the Coast wholly disappeared. By the benefit of 
purest air and water, with long walks and abun- 
dant palm wine from the trees hung with cala- 
bashes, the traces of " Nanny Po" soon vanished ; 
appetite and sleep returned, nightly cramps were 
things unknown, and a healthy glow overspread 
the clammy, corpse-like skin. When the Lower 
Congo shall become the emporium of lawful trade, 
the white face will find a sanatorium in these 
portals of the Sierra del Crystal, — the vine will 
flourish, the soil will produce the cereals as well 
as the fruits and vegetables of Europe, and this 
re^on will become one of the " Paradises of 

The banzas of Congo-land show the constitu- 
tion of native society, which, as in Syria, and in- 
deed in most barbarous and semi-barbarous places, 
is drawn together less by reciprocal wants than 
by the ties of blood. Here families cannot dis- 


202 Life at Banza Nokki. 

perse, and thus each hamlet is a single house, with 
its patriarch for president and judge. When the 
population outgrows certain limits, instead of being 
confounded with its neighbours, it adds a settle- 
ment upon neighbouring ground, and removal is 
the work of a single day. The towns are merely 
big villages, whose streets are labyrinths of narrow 
pathways, often grass-grown, because each man 
builds in his own way. Some translate the word 
" Banza " by city, unaware that Central African 
people do not build cities. Professor Smith rightly 
explains it " a village, which with them means a 
paterfamilias, and his private dependants." So 
the maligned DouvHle (i. 1 59) — " On donne le nom 
de banza k la ville ou reside le chef d'une peu- 
plade ou nation n^gre On I'attribue aussi i 
I'enceinte que le chef ou souverain habite avec les 
femmes et sa cour. Dans ce dernier sens le mot 
banza veut dire palais du chef." 

Our situation is charming, high enough to be 
wholesome, yet in a sheltered valley, an amphi- 
theatre opening to the south-east or rainy quarter ; 
the glorious trees, here scattered, there gathered 
in clumps and impenetrable bosquets, show the 
exuberant fertility of the soil. Behind and above 
the village rises a dwarf plateau, rich with plan- 
tains and manioc. After the deserted state of the 
river banks, — the effect of kidnapping, — we are 
surprised to find so populous a region. Within 


Life at Bama Nokki. 203 

cannon-shot, there are not less than twelve villages, 
with a total, perhaps, of 2,400 souls. 

Banza Nkaye, as usual uninclosed, contains 
some forty habitations, which may lodge two hun- 
dred head. The tenements are built upon plat- 
forms cut out of the hill slopes; and the make 
proves that, even during the rains, there is little to 
complain of climate. Ten of these huts belong to 
royalty, which lives upon the lowest plane ; and 
each wife has her own abode, whilst the "sen- 
zallas " of the slaves cluster outside. The founda- 
tion is slightly raised, to prevent flooding. The 
superstructure strikes most travellers as having 
somewhat the look of a chMet, although Proyart 
compares it with a large basket turned upside down. 
Two strong uprights, firmly planted, support on 
their forked ends a long strut-beam, tightly se- ■ 
cured ; the eaves are broad to throw off the rain, 
and the neat thatch of grass, laid with points up- 
wards in regular courses, and kept in site by bam- 
boo strips, is renewed before the stormy season. 
The roof and walls are composed of six screens ; 
they are made upon the ground, often occupying 
months, and they can be put together in a few 
minutes. The material, which an old traveller 
says is of "leaves interwoven not contemptibly 
with one another," is a grass growing everywhere 
on the hills, plaited and attached to strips of cane 
or bamboo-palm {Raphia vini/era) ; the, gable 


204 Life at Bama Nokki. 

" walls " are often a cheque-pattern, produced by 
twining " tie-tie," " monkey rope," or creepers, 
stained black, round the dull-yellow groundwork ; 
and one end is pierced for a doorway, that must 
not front the winds and rains. It is a small square 
hole, keeping the interior dark and cool ; and the 
defence is a screen of cane-work, fastened with a 
rude wooden latch. The flooring is hard, tamped 
clay, in the centre of which the fire is laid ; the 
cooking, however, is confined to the broad eaves, 
or to the compound which, surrounded with neat 
walls, backs the house. The interior is divided 
into the usual "but" and "ben." The latter commu- 
nicates with the former by a passage, masked 
with a reed screen ; it is the sleeping-place and 
the store-room ; and there is generally a second 
wicket for timely escape. The only furniture con- 
sists of mats, calabashes, and a standing bedstead 
of rude construction, or a bamboo cot like those 
built at L^os, — in fact, the four bare walls sug- 
gest penury. But in the " small countries," as the 
" landward towns " are called, where the raid and 
the foray are not feared, the householder entrusts 
to some faithful slave lai^e stores of cloth and 
rum, of arms and gunpowder. 

The abodes suggest those of our semi-barbarous 
ancestors, as described by Holingshed, where 
earth mixed with lime formed the floor ; where 
the fire was laid to the wall ; where the smoke, 


Life at Bama Nokki. 205 

which, besides hardening timber, was expected to 
keq) the good man and his family from quake 
and fever, curled from the door ; and where the 
bed was a straw pallet, with a log of wood for a 
pillow. But the Congoese is better lodged than 
we were before the days of Queen Elizabeth ; what 
are luxuries in the north, broad beds and deep 
arm-chairs, would here be ftir less comfortable 
than the mats, which serve for all purposes. I 
soon civilized my hut with a divan, the Hindo- 
stani chabutarah, the Spanish estrada, the " mud 
bank " or " bunting " of Sierra Leone, a cool 
earth-bench running round the room, which then 
wanted only a glass window. But no domestic 
splendour was required ; life in the open air is the 
life for the tropics: even in England a greater 
proportion of it would do away with much neural- 
gia and similar complaints. And, if the establish- 
ment be simple, it is also neat and clean : we 
never suffered from the cimex and pulex of which 
Captain Tuckey complains so bitterly, and the 
fourmisvoyageuses (drivers), mosquitoes, scorpions, 
and centipedes were unknown to us. 

The people much resemble those of the Gaboon. 
The figure is well formed, except the bosom, 
whose shape prolonged lactation, probably upon 
the principle called Malthusian, soon destroj's ; 
hence the first child is said to " make the breasts 
fall." The face is somewhat broad and flat, the 


2o6 Life at Banza Nokki. 

jowl wide, deep, and strong, and the cerebellum is 
highly developed as in the Slav. The eye is 
well opened, with thick and curly lashes, but the 
tunica conjunctiva is rarely of a pure white ; the 
large teeth are of good shape and colour. Ex- 
tensive tattoos appear on breasts, backs, and 
shoulders ; the wearers are generally slaves, also 
known by scantier clothing, by darker skins, and 
by a wilder expression of countenance. During 
their " country nursing," the children run about 
wholly nude, except the coating of red wood 
applied by the mothers, or the dust gathered from 
the ground. I could not hear of the weaning 
custom mentioned by Merolla, the father lifting 
the child by the arm, and holding him for a time 
hanging in the air, " falsely believing that by 
those means he will become more strong and 
robust" Whilst the men affect caps, the women 
go bare-headed, either shaving the whole scalp, 
or leaving a calotte of curly hair on the poll ; it 
resembles the Shushah of Western Arabia and 
East Africa, but it is carried to the fore like a 
toucan's crest. Some, by way of coquetterie, 
trace upon the scalp a complicated network, 
showing the finest and narrowest lines of black 
wool and pale skin : so the old traveller tells us 
" the heads of those who aspire to glory in apparel 
semble a parterre, you see alleys and figures 
aced on them with a great deal of ingenuity." 


Life at Bama Nokki. 207 

The bosom, elaborately bound downwards, is 
covered with a square bit of stuff, or a calico 
pagne — most ungraceful of raiment — wrapped un- 
der the arms, and extending to the knees : 

" In longitude 'tis sorely scanty. 

But 'tis their best, and they are vaunty." 

The poor and the slaves content themselves with 
grass cloth. The ornaments are brass earrings, 
beads and imitation coral ; heavy bangles and 
maniUas of brass and copper, zinc and iron, load- 
ing the ankles, and giving a dainty elephantine 
gait ; the weight also produces stout mollets, which 
are set off by bead-garters below the knees. The 
%, as amongst hill people generally, is finely 
developed, especially amongst the lower orders : 
the " lady's " being often lank and spindled, as in 
Paris and Naples, where the carriage shrinks the 
muscles as bandages cramp Chinese feet. 

In these hamlets women are far more numerous 
than men. Marriage being expensive amongst the 
" Mfumo" or gentry, the houses are stocked with 
Hagars, and the children inherit their father's 
rank as Mwana Mfumos, opposed to Mwana- 
ngambe, labouring people, or Wantu, slaves. 

The missionaries found a regular system of 
" hand-fasting." Their neophytes did not approve 
of marri^e in facie ecclesia, " for they must first 
be satisfied whether their wife will have children ; 
whether she will be diligent in her daily labour, and. 


2o8 Life at Bama Nokki. 

lastly, whether she will prove obedient, before they 
will marry her. If they find her faulty in any of 
these points, they immediately send her back again 
to her parents." The woman, not being looked, 
upon the worse for being returned into stores, soon 
afterwards underwent another trial, perhaps with 
success. Converts were fined nine crowns for 
such irregularities. " But, oh 1 " exclaims a good 
father, " what pains do we take to bring them to 
marry the lover, and how many ridiculous argu- 
ments and reasons do they bring to excuse them- 
selves from this duty and restraint." He tells us 
how he refused absolution to a dying woman, un- 
less shecompelled her daughter to marry a man with 
whom she was " living upon trial." The mother 
answered wisely enough, " Father, I will never 
give my daughter cause to curse me after I am 
dead, by obliging her to wedlock where she does 
not fancy." Whereupon the priest replied, " What ! 
do you not stand more in awe of a temporal than 
an eternal curse ?" and, working upon the feelings 
of the girl, who began to tremble and to weep, ex- 
torted from her a promise to accept the " feigned 
husband." He adds, " Notwithstanding this, some 
obstinate mothers have rather chosen to die uncon- 
fessed, than to concern themselves with the mar- 
riage of their daughters." Being obliged to attend 
Communion at Easter, these temporary couples 
would part on the first day of Lent ; obtain absolu- 


Life at Banza Nokki. 209 

tion and, 3 week afterwards, either cohabit once 
more or find otherpartners. The "indiscreet method 
of courtship," popularly known as " bundling," here 
existed, and was found by CailH^ amongst the south- 
em Moors : " When everybody is at rest, the man 
creeps into his intended's tent, and remains with 
her till daybreak." 

An energetic attempt was made to abolish po- 
lygamy, which, instead of diminishing population as 
some sciolists pretend, caused the country to swarm 
like maritime China Father Carli, who also dilates 
upon the evil practice of the sexes living together 
on trial, candidly owns that his main difficulty 
lay in " bringing the multitude to keep to one 
wife, they being wholly averse to that law." Yet 
old travellers declare that when the missionaries 
succeeded, the people " lived so Christian-like and 
lovingly together, that the wife would suffer her- 
self to be cut to pieces rather than deceive her 
husband." Merolla, indeed, enlarges on the con- 
stancy of women, whether white or black, when 
lawfully married to their mates ; and praises them 
for living together in all manner of love and amity. 
" Hence may be learned what a propensity the 
women have to chastity in these parts, many of 
whom meet together on the first day of Lent, and 
oblige themselves, under pain of severe penance, 
to a strict continence till Easter." In 'case of 
adultery the husband could divorce the wife ; he 


210 Life at Banza Nokki. 

was generally satisfied by her begging his pardon, 
and by taking a slave from the lover. Widowed 
" countesses," proved guilty of " immorality," 
suffered death by fire or sword. On the other 
hand, the " princess" had a right to choose her 
husband ; but, as in Persia, the day of his splendid 
wedding was the last of his liberty. He became 
a prisoner and a slave ; he was surrounded by 
spies ; he was preceded by guards out of doors, 
and at the least " &art " his head was chopped off 
and his paramour was sold. These ladies amply 
revenged the servitude of their sex — 

" Asperius nihil est humili cum suigit in altum." 

Rich women were allowed to support quasi- 
husbands until they became mothers ; and the 
slaves of course lived tc^ether without marriage. 
Since the days of the Expedition a change for the 
better has come over the gentilsesso. The traveller 
is no longer in the " dilemma of Frfere Jean," and, 
except at the river-mouth and at the adjacent vil- 
lages, there is none of that officious complaisance 
which characterizes every hamlet in the Gaboon 
country. The men appear peculiarly jealous, and 
the women fearful of the white face. Whenever 
we approached a feminine group, it would start up 
- - \ run away ; if cooking ground-nuts, the boldest 
jld place a little heap upon the bottom of an 
urned basket, push it towards us and wave us 


Life at Banza Nokki. 211 

off The lowest orders will submit to a kind of 
marriage for four fathoms of cloth ; exactly double 
the tariff paid in Tuckey's time (pp. 171-181) ; and 
this ratio will apply to all other articles of living. 
Amongst themselves nubile girls are not remark- 
ably strict ; but as matrons they are rigid. The 
adulterer is now punished by a heavy fine, and, if 
he cannot pay, his death, as on many parts of the 
Southern Coast, is lawful to the husband. 

The life is regular, and society is simple and 
patriarchal, as amongst the Iroquois and Mohawks, 
or in the Shetlands two centuries ago. The only 
excitement, a fight or a slave hunt, is now become 
very rare. Yet I can hardly lay down the " cur- 
riculum vitae " as longer than fifty-five years, and 
there are few signs of great age. Merolla declares 
the women to be longer-lived than the men. Gidi 
Mavunga, who told me that the Congo Expedition 
visited their Banza when his mother was a child, 
can hardly be forty-five, as his eldest son shows, 
and yet he looks sixty. The people rise at dawn 
and, stirring up the fire, light the cachimbos or 
large clay pipes which are rarely out of their 
mouths. Tobacco (nsunza) grows everywhere 
and, when rudely cured, it is sold in ringlets or 
twisted leaves ; it is never snuffed, and the only 
chaw is the Mdkdzo or Kola nut which grows 
all over these hills ; of these I bought 200 for 
100 coloured porcelain beads, probably paying 


212 Life at Bama Nokki. 

treble the usual price. No food is eaten at 
dawn, a bad practice, which has extended to the 
Brazil and the Argentine Republic ; but if a 
dram be procurable it is taken " por la mafiana." 
The slave-women, often escorted by one of the 
wives, and accompanied by the small girls, who 
must learn to work whilst their brothers are idling 
with their rattles, set out with water-pots balanced 
on their Astrachan wool, or with baskets for 
grain and firewood slung by a head-strap to the 
back. The free-bom remain at home, bathing 
and anointing with palm-oil, which renders the 
skin smooth and supple, but leaves a peculiar 
aroma ; they are mostly cross enough till they 
have thoroughly shaken off sleep, and the morning 
generally begins with scolding the slaves or a 
family wrangle. I have seen something of the 
kind in Europe. 

Visiting, chatting, and strolling from place to 
place, lead to the substantial breakfast or first 
dinner between 9 and 10 a.m. Meat rarely 
appears; river fish, fresh or sun-dried, is the 
usual " kitchen," eaten with manioc, toasted maize, 
and peeled, roasted, and scraped plantain ; v^e- 
tables and palm-oil obtained by squeezing the 
nut in the hands, are the staple dish, and beans 
are looked upon rather as slaves' food They 
have no rice and no form of " daily bread :" I 
happened to take with me a few boxes of " twice- 


Life at Bama Nokki. 213 

baked," and this Mbolo was the object of every 
chiefs ambition. " Coleworts" are noticed by 
Merolla as a missionary importation ; he tells us 
that they produce no seed ; and are propagated 
by planting the sprouts, which grow to a great 
height The greens, cabbages, spinach, and 
French beans, mentioned by Tuckey, have been 
allowed to die out. Tea, coffee, sugar, and all 
such exotics, are unappreciated, if not unknown ; 
chillies, which grow wild, enter into every dish, and 
the salt of native manufacture, brown and earthy, 
is bought in little baskets. 

Between breakfast and midday there is a 
mighty drink. The palm-wine, here called " Ms- 
dmbd," and on the lower river " Manjewa," is not 
brought in at dawn, or It would be better. The 
endogen in general use is the elai's, which is 
considered to supply a better and more delicate 
liquor than the raphla. The people do not fell 
the tree like the Kru-men, but prefer the hoop of 
"supple-jack" affected by the natives of Fernando 
Po and Camarones. A leaf folded funnel-wise, and 
inserted as usual in the lowest part of the frond 
before the fruit forms, conveys the juice into the 
calabashes, often three, which hang below the 
crown ; and the daily produce may be ten quarts. 
On the first day of tapping, the sap is too sweet ; 
it is best during the following week and, when it 
becomes tart, no more must be drawn or the tree 


214 Life at Banza Nokkt. 

will be injured. It cannot be kept ; acetous fer- 
mentation sets in at once, and presently it coagu- 
lates and corrupts. At Banana and Boma it is 
particularly good ; at Porto da Lenha it is half 
water, but the agents dare not complain, for the 
rejison which prevents them offering " spliced 
grog " to the prepotent negro. Europeans enjoy 
the taste, but dislike the smell of palm-wine ; those 
in whom it causes flatulence should avoid it, but 
where it agrees it is a pleasant stimulant, pectoral, 
refreshing, and clearing the prima via. Mixed 
with wine or spirits, it becomes highly intoxi- 
cating. The rude beers, called by Merolla Guallo 
and by Tuckey (p. 120) Baamboo, the Oualo of 
Douville, and the Pombe of East Africa, mentioned 
by almost every traveller, are not now found on 
the lower river. 

About noon the slaves return from handling 
their trowel-shaped iron hoes, and the "gentle- 
man" takes a siesta proportioned to his drink. 
The poorer classes sit at home weaving, spinning, 
or threading beads, whilst the wives attend to 
household work, prepare the meals, buy and sell, 
dig and delve. Europeans often pity the sex thus 
" doomed to perform the most laborious drudgery ;" 
but it is a waste of sentiment The women are 
more accustomed to labour in all senses of the 
word, and the result is that they equal their 
mates in strength and stature ; they enjoy robust 


Life at Banza Nokkt, 215 

health, and their children, born without difficulty, 
are sturdy and vigorous. The same was the case 
amongst the primitive tribes of Europe ; Zamacola 
(Anthrop. Mem. ii. 38), assures us that the Basque 
women were physically powerful as the men, with 
whom they engaged in prize-fights. 

The master awakes about 3 p.m. and smokes, 
visits, plays with his children, and dawdles away 
his time till the cool sunset, when a second edition 
of the first meal is served up. If there be neither 
dance nor festival, all then retire to their bens, 
light the fire, and sit smoking tobacco or bhang, 
with frequent interruptions of palm wine or rum, 
till joined by their partners. Douville (ii. 1 1 3), 
says that the Pangu^ or chanvre, " crott naturelle- 
ment dans le pays." I believe the questions to be 
still sub jttdice, whether the intoxicating cannabis 
be or be not indigenous to Africa as well as to 
Asia ; and whether smoking was not known in the 
Old World, as it certainly was in the New, be- 
fore tobacco was introduced. The cannabis Indica 
was the original anaesthetic known to the Arabs 
and to civilized Orientals many centuries before 
the West invented ether and chloroform. 

Our landlord has two wives, but one is a 
mother and will not rejoin him till her child can 
carry a calabash of water unaided. To avoid 
exciting jealousy he lives in a hut apart, sur- 
rounded by seven or eight slaves, almost all of 


2i6 Life at Banza Nokki. 

them young girls. This regular life is varied by 
a little extra exertion at seed-time and harvest,by 
attending the various quitandas or markets of the 
country side, and by an occasional trip to " town " 
(Boma). When the bush is burning, all sally out 
with guns, clubs, and dogs, to bring home " beef," 
And thus they dwell in the presence of their 
brethren, thinking little of to-day, and literally 
following the precept, " Take no thought for the 
morrow." As the old missioners testify, they 
have happy memories, their tempers are mild, and 
quarrels rarely lead to blows ; they are covetous, 
but not miserly ; they share what they have, and 
they apply the term " close-fist" to the European 
who gives " nuffin for nuffin." 

The most superstitious of men, they combine 
the two extremes of belief and unbelief ; they 
have the firmest conviction in their own tenets, 
whilst those of others flow off" their minds like 
water from a greased surface. ' The Catholic mis- 
sioners laboured amongst them for nearly two 
hundred years ; some of these ecclesiastics were ig- 
norant and bigoted as those whom we still meet on 
the West African Coast, but not a few were earnest 
and energetic, scrupulous and conscientious, able 
and learned as the best of our modern day. All 
did not hurry over their superficial tasks like the 
Neapolitan father Jerome da Montesarchio, who 
baptized 100,000 souls ; and others, who sprinkled 


Life at Banza Nokki. 217 

children till their arms were tired. Many lived for 
years in the country, learning the language and iden- 
tifying themselves with their flocks. Yet the most 
they ever effected was to make their acolytes re- 
semble the Assyrians whom Shalmaneser trans- 
planted to Assyria, who " feared the Lord and served 
their graven images" {2 Kings, xvii. 33-41). Their 
only traces are the word " Deus," foully perverted 
like the Chinese "joss ;" and an occasional crucifix 
which is called cousa de bronco — white man's 
thing. Tuckey was justified in observing at 
Nokki that the crucifixes, left by missioners, were 
strangely mixed with native fetishes, and that 
the people seemed by no means improved by the 
muddle of Christian and Pagan idolatry. 

The system is at once complicated and unset- 
tled. There is, apparently, the sensus numinis; 
the vague deity being known as Nzambi or 
Njambi, which the missionaries translated into 
God, as Nganna Zambi— Lord Zambi. Merolla 
uses Zambiabungti, and in the vocabulary, Zabi- 
ambunco, for the " Spirit above" (Zarabi-a-npungo): 
Battel tells us that the King of Loango was called 
"Sambee and Pango, which mean God" The 
Abb^ Proyart terms the Supreme " Zambi," and 
applies Zambi-a-n-pongou to a species of malady 
brought on by perjury. He also notices the 
Manichaean idea of Zambi-a-Nbi, or bad-God, 
drawing the fine distinction of European belief in 


2 1 8 Life at Bama Nokki. 

a deity supremely good, who permits evil without 
participating in it But the dualism of moral light 
and darkness, noticed by all travellers,' is a bom 
fide existence with Africans, and the missionaries 
converted the Angolan "Cariapemba" into the 
Aryo-Semitic Devil. 

Zambi is the Anyambia of the Gaboon country, 
z. vox et prsterea nihil. Dr. Livingstone ("First 
Expedition," p. 641), finds the word general 
amongst the Balonda, or people of Lunda : with 
the " Cazembes " the word is " Pambi," or " Liza," 
and " O Muata Cazembe " (p. 297) mentions the 
proverb, " Ao Pambi e ao Mambi (the King) nada 
iguala." In the " Vocabulario da lingfua Cafrial " 
we see (p. 469) that " Murungo" means God 
or thunder. It is the rudimental idea of the 
great Zeus, which the Greeks worked out, the 
God of ^ther, the eternal, omnipotent, and omni- 
scient, " who was, who is, and who is to come," 
the Unknown and Unknowable, concerning whom 
St Paul quoted Aristxus on Mars' Hill. But the 
African brain naturally confused it with a some- 
thing gross and material : thus Nzambi-a-Npungu 
is especially the lightning god. Cariambemba is, 
properly, Kadi Mpemba or Ntangwa, the being 
that slays mankind : Merolla describes it as an 

' Tuckcy (p. 314), and the General Observations prefijed 
to the Diaries. 


Life at Bama Nokki. 219 

"abominable idol ;" and the word is also applied to 
the owl, hereas in Dahome the object of superstition. 
1 could trace no sign of worship paid to the sun 
(Tangwa or Muinyi), but there are multitudes of 
minor gods, probably deified ghosts, haunting par- 
ticular places. Thus, " Simbi " presides over vil- 
lages and the "Tadi Nzazhi," or Lightning Rock, 
near Boma ; whilst the Yellala is the abode of an 
evil being which must be propitiated by offerings. 
As usual amongst Fetish worshippers, the only 
trace of belief in a future state is faith in revenants 
—returning men or ghosts. 

Each village has an idol under a little wall-less 
roof, apparently an earthem pot of grease and 
feathers, called Mavunga. This may be the 
Ovengwa of the " Camma people," a " terrible 
catcher and eater of men, a vampire of the dead ; 
pereonal, whilst the Ibamba are indistinct; tall as 
a tree ; wandering through the woods, ever wink- 
ii^; whereas the Greek immortals were known 
^ their motionless eyelids. " Ngolo Wanga " is 
a man-shaped figure of unpainted wood, kept in 
the huL Every house is stuck inside and out- 
side with idols and fetishes, interpreters of the 
Deity, each having its own jurisdiction over 
lightning, wind, and rain ; some act as scare- 
W)ws ; others teach magic, avert evils, preserve 
health and sight, protect cattle, and command fish 
'n the sea or river. They are in all manner of 


220 Life at Banza Nokki. 

shapes, strings of mucuha and poison-beans ; 
carved images stuck over with feathers and 
tassels ; padlocks with a cowrie or a mirror set in 
them ; horns full of mysterious " medicine ;" iron- 
tipped poles ; bones ; birds' beaks and talons ; 
skins of snakes and leopards, and so forth. We 
shall meet them again upon our travels. 

No man walks abroad without his protecting 
charms, Nkisi or Nkizi, the Monda of the Gaboon, 
slung en haitdrter, or hanging from his shoulder. 
The portable fetish of our host is named " Bdki 
chyd Mdzfnga : Professor Smith (p. 323) makes 
"Mdzengd" to be "fetishes for the detection of 
theft." These jnagica vanitates are prophylacUcs 
against every evil to which man's frailty is heir. 
The missioners were careful not to let their Congo 
converts have anything from their bodies, like hair 
nail parings, for fear lest it be turned to super- 
;ious use ; and a beard (the price of conversion) 
s refused to the " King of Micocco." Like 
: idols, these talismans avert ill luck, bachelor- 
ad, childlessness, poverty, and ill health ; they 
: equally powerful against the machinations of 
:s, natural or supernatural; against wild beasts, 
: crocodile, the snake, and the leopard ; and 
linst wounds of lead and steel. They can pro- 
ce transformation ; destroy enemies ; cause rain 
drought, fine or foul weather ; raise and humble, 
rich and impoverish countries ; and, above all 


Life at Banza Nokki. 221 

things, they are sovereign to make man brave in 
battle. Shortly before we entered Banza Nkaye a 
propitiation of the tutelary gods took place : Cox- 
swain Deane had fired an Enfield, and the report 
throughout the settlement was that our guns would 
kill from the river-bank. 

The Nganga of Congo-land, the Mganga of the 
Wasawahili and the Uganga of the Gaboon, ex- 
actly corresponds with M. Michelet's Sorci^re of 
the Middle Ages, " physicienne," that is doctor for 
the people and poisoner ; we cannot, however, apply 
in Africa the adage of Louis XIII.'s day, " To 
one wizard ten thousand witches." In the " Muata 
Cazembe" (pp. 57, ei passim) we read " O Ganga or 
Surjao ;" the magician is there called " Muroi," 
which, like " Fite," is also applied to magic. The 
Abb^ Proyart opines of his professional brother, 
" he is ignorant as the rest of the people, but a 
greater rog^e," — a pregnant saying. Yet here " the 
man of two worlds " is not Vhomme de revolution, 
and he suffices for the small " spiritual wants " of 
his flock. He has charge of the " Kizila," the 
" Chigella" of Merolla and the " Quistilla" of James 
Barbot — Anglic^ putting things in fetish, which 
corresponds with the Tahitian tapu or taboo. The 
African idea is, that he who touches the article, 
for instance, gold on the eastern coast of Guinea, 
will inevitably come to grief When " fetish is 
taken off," as by the seller of palm wine who tastes 


222 Life at Banza Nokki. 

it in presence of the buyer, the precaution is evi- 
dently against poison. Many of these " Kizila" 
are self-imposed, for instance a water melon may 
never enter Banza Nokki, and, though slaves may 
eat bananas upon a journey, the master may 
not Others refuse the flesh of a fowl until it 
has been tasted by a woman. These rules are 
delivered to the young, either by the fetishman or 
the parents, and, when broken, they lead to death, 
doubtless often the consequence of strong belief. 
The Nganga superintends, as grand inquisitor, 
the witch-ordeal, by causing the accused to chew 
red-wood and other drugs in this land ferax 
venenorum. Park was right : " By witchcraft is 
meant pretended magic, affecting the lives and 
healths of persons, in other words it is the admin- 
istering of poison." European " Narratives of 
Sorcery and Magic " exactly explain the African 
idea, except in one point : there the witch " only 
suffered from not being able to prove to Satan 
how much she burned to suffer for his sake ;" here 
she has no Satan. Both European and African 
are the firmest believers in their own powers ; they 
often confess, although knowing that the confession 
leads directly to torture and death, with all the 
diabolical ingenuity of which either race was 
capable. In Tuckey's time a bargain was con- 
cluded by breaking a leaf or a blade of grass, and 
this rite it was " found necessary to perform with 


Life at BaHza Nokki. 223 

the seller of every fowl:" apparently it is now 
obsolete. Finally, although the Fetish man may 
be wrong, the fetish cannot err. If a contretemps 
occur, a reason will surely be found ; and, should 
the " doctor " die, he has fallen a victim to a rival 
or an enemy more powerful than himself. 

A striking institution of the Congo region is 
that of the jinkemba, which, curious to say, is un- 
noticed by Tuckey. It is not, however, peculiar to 
the Q>ngo ; it is the " Semo" of the Susus or 
Soosoosof the Windward Coast, and the " Purrah" 
of the Sherbro-Balloms or Bulloms, rendered 
Anglieh by " free-masonry." The novitiate there 
lasts for seven or eight years, and whilst the boys 
live in the woods food is placed for them by their 
relations : the initiation, indeed, appears to be espe- 
cially severe. Here all the free-bom males are sub- 
jected to the wrongly called " Mosaic rite." Me- 
rolia tells us that the wizards circumcise children 
on the eighth day {like the Jews), not out of re- 
gard for the law, but with some wicked end and 
purpose of their own. At any time between the 
ages of five and fifteen (eight to ten being generally 
preferred), boys are taken from their parents (which 
must be an exceeding comfort to the latter), and 
for a native year, which is half of ours, they must 
dwell in the Vivdla ya Ankimba, or Casa de 
Feiti^o, like that which we passed before reaching 
Banza Nokki. They are now- instructed by the 


224 I^^fr ^ B'anza Nokki. 

Nganga in the practices of their intricate creed ; 
they are taught the mysteries under solemn oaths, 
and, in fine, they are prepared for marriage. 
Upon the Congo they must eat no cooked food, 
living wholly upon roots and edibles ; but they are 
allowed to enter the villages for provisions, and 
here they often appear armed with matchets, 
bayonets, and wooden swords. Their faces and 
necks, bodies and arms, are ghastly white with 
chalk or ashes ; the hair is left in its original jet, 
and the dingy lower limbs contrast violently with 
the ghostlike absence of colour above. The dress is 
a crinoline of palm-fronds, some fresh and green, 
others sere and brown ; a band of strong mid-rib 
like a yellow hoop passed round the waist spreads 
out the petticoat like a farthingale, and the ragged 
ends depend to the knees ; sometimes it is worn 
under the axillse, but in all cases the chalked arms 
must be outside. The favourite attitude is that of 
the Rhodian Colossus, with the elbows bent to the 
fore and the hands clasped behind the head. To 
increase their prestige of terror, the Jinkomba 
abjure the use of human language, and, meeting a 
stranger, ejaculate with all their might, " Hir-rr- 
rr-rr-rrl" and "Jojolo! Jojolo!" words mystic 
and meaningless. When walking in procession, 
they warn the profane out of the way by striking 
one slip of wood upon another. They are wilder 
in appearance than the Hindu Jogi or Sanyasi, 


Life at Banza Nokki. 225 

who also affects the use of ashes, but neglects that 
of the palm-thatch. It is certainly enough to 
startle a man of impressible nerves — one, for in- 
stance, who cannot enter a room without a side- 
long glance at an unexpected coffin — to see these 
hideous beings starting with their savage cry from 

Ae depths of an African forest. Evidently, also, 
such is the intention of the costume. 

Contrasting the Congoese with the Goanese, we 
obtain a measure of difference between the African 
and the Asiatic. Both were Portuguese colonies 
founded about the same time, and under very 
similar circumstances ; both were catechized and 

II. Q 


226 Life at Banza Nokki. 

Christianized in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries ; both had governors and palaces, bi- 
shops and cathedrals, educational establishments 
and a large staff of missioners. But Asia was not 
so inimical, mentally or bodily, to the European 
frame as Africa ; the Goanese throve after a 
fashion, the mixed breed became the staple po- 
pulation, and thus it continues till this day. On 
the other hand the Hamitic element so com- 
pletely asserted its superiority over insititious 
Japheth, that almost every trace has disap- 
peared in a couple of centuries. There lingers, 
it is true, amongst the Congoese of the coast- 
regions a something derived from the olden age, 
still distinguishing them from the wild people of 
the interior, and at times they break out naturally 
in the tongue of their conquerors. But it requires 
a practised eye to mark these minutise. 

The Congoese are passably brave amongst 
themselves; crafty and confined in their views, 
they carry " knowledge of life" as far as it is re- 
quired, and their ceremonious intercourse is re- 
markable and complicated. They have relapsed 
into the analphabetic state of their ancestors ; they 
are great at eloquence ; and, though without our 
poetical forms, they have a variety of songs upon 
all subjects and they improvise panegyrics in 
honour of chiefs and guests. Their dances have 
been copied in Europe. Without ever inventing 


Life at Bama Nokki. 227 

the modes of the Greeks, which are still preserved 
by the Hindoos, they have an original music, deal- 
ing in harmony rather than in tune, and there are 
motives, of course all in the minor key, which 
might be utilized by advanced peoples ; these sons 
of nature would especially supply material for that 
recitative which Verdi first made something better 
than a vehicle for dialogue. Hence the old mis- 
sioners are divided in opinion ; whilst some find 
the sound of the " little guitar," with strings of 
palm-thread and played with the thumbs of both 
hands, " very low, but not ungrateful," others 
speak of the " hellish harmony" of their neophytes' 
bands. The instrument alluded to is the nsambi or 
nchambi ; four strings are attached to bent sticks 
springing from the box ; it is the wambi of the 
Shekyanis (Du Chaillu, chap, xii), but the bridge, 
like that of our violin, gives it an evident supe- 
riority, and great care and labour are required in 
the maker. 

This form of the universal marimba is a sound- 
ing-board of light wood, measuring eight inches by 
five ; some eight to eleven iron keys, flat strips of 
thin metal, pass over an upright bamboo bridge, 
fixed by thongs to the body, and rest at the further 
end upon a piece of skin which prevents " twang- 
ing." The tocador or performer brings out soft 
and pleasing tones with the sides of the thumbs 
and fingers. They have drums and the bell-like 


228 Life at Bansa Nokki, 

cymbals called chingufu : M. Valdez (ii, 221 ei 
passim), writes " Clincufo," which he has taken 
from a misprint in Monteiro and Gamitto. The 
chingufu of East Africa is a hollow box performed 
upon with a drum-stick of caoutchouc. The pipes 
are wooden tubes with sundry holes and a bridge 
below the mouth-piece ; they are played over edge 
like our flutes. The " hellish harmonies " mosdy 
result from an improvised band, one strumming the 
guitar, another clapping the sticks, and the third 
beating the bell-shaped irons that act as castanets. 
The language of the people on and near the 
Congo River is called " Fiote," a term used by old 
travellers to denote a black man as opposed to 
Mundele (white), and also applied to things, as 
Bondefiote or black baft. James Barbot (p. 512) 
gives specimens of some thirty-three words and 
the numerals in the " Angoy language, spoken at 
Cabinde," which proves to be that of the River. 
Of these many are erroneous : for instance, " nova," 
to sleep (ku-niia) ; " sursu," a hen (nsusu) : while 
" fina," scarlet ; " bayeta," baize ; and " fumu," to- 
bacco, are corrupted Portuguese. A young lad, 
"muleche" (moleque), Father Merolla's "molecchas, 
a general name among the negroes," for which 
Douville prefers " moleke" (masc.) and " molecka" 
(fem.), is applied only to a slave, and in this sense 
it has extended west of the Atlantic. In the 
numerals, "wale" (2) should be "kwdle," "quina"(4) 


Life at Bansa Nokki. 229 

"kuyd," and " evona" (9) "iowd." We may re- 
mark the pentenary system of the Windward Coast 
and the Gaboon negroes; e.g., 6 is "sambano" 
{"mose" and " tano" r + 5), and 7 is "samb- 
wale" ("mose" and "kwale") and so forth, whilst 
"kumi" (10), possibly derived from neighbouring 
races, belongs to the decimal system. 

The first attempt at a regular vocabulary was 
made by Douville, (vol. iii. p. 26 1 ) : " Vocabulaire 
de la Langue Mogialoua, et des deux dialectes pHn- 
eipaux AbuTida (Angolan) et Congo" (Fiote) ; it is 
also very incorrect. The best is that published in 
Appendix No. i. to the Congo Expedition, under 
the name of " Embomma ; " we may quote the 
author's final remark : " This vocabulary I do not 
consider to be free from mistakes which I cannot 
now find time to discover. All the objects of 
the senses are. however, correct." M. Parrot 
showed me a MS. left at Banana Point by a 
French medical officer, but little could be said in 
its praise. Monteiro and Gamitto (pp. 479-480) 
give seventeen " Conguez " words, and the Congo 
numerals as opposed to the " Bundo." 

The Fiote is a member of the great South 
African family ; some missionaries argued, from its 
beauty and richness, that it had formerly been 
written, but of this there is no proof. M. Malte- 
Brun supposes the Congoese dialects to indicate 
"a meditative genius foreign to the habitual condi- 


230 Life at Banza Nokki. 

tion of these people," ignoring the fact that the 
most complicated and laborious tongues are those 
of barbarous nations, whilst modern civilization in 
variably labours to simplify. It is copious ; every 
place, tree, shrub, or plant used by the people has 
its proper name ; it is harmonious and pleasing, 
abounding in vowels and liquids, destitute of guttu- 
rals, and sparing in aspirates and other harsh 
consonants. At the same time, like the rest of the 
family, it is clumsy and unwieldy, whilst immense 
prolixity and frequent repetition must develope 
the finer shades of meaning. Its peculiarity is a 
greater resemblance to the Zanzibarian Kisawahili 
than any tongue known to me on the Western 
Coast : often a question asked by the guide, as 
" Njia hdpd ?" {Is this the road ?) and " Jina lako 
ndni ?" (What's your name ?) was perfecdy intelli- 
gible to me. The latter is a fair specimen of the 
peculiar euphony which I have noticed in "Zanzi- 
bar" (vol. i. chap. X.). We should expect "Jina 
jako," whereas this would offend the native ear. 
It requires a scholar-like knowledge of the tongue 
to apply the curious process correctly, and the self- 
sufficient critic should beware how he attempts to 
correct quotations from the native languages. 

I need hardly say that the speakers are foul- 
mouthed as the Anglo-African of S'a Leone and 
the " English " Coast ; they borrow the vilest 
words from foreign tongues ; a spade is called a 


Life at Banza Nokki. 231 

spade with a witness, and feminine relatives are 
ever the subject of abuse ; a practice which, begin- 
ning in Europe with the Slav race, extends more 
or less throughout the Old World. I specify the 
Old World, because the so-called " Indians " of 
North and South America apparently ignore the 
habit except where they have learned it from 
Southern Europe. Finally, cursing takes the place 
of swearing, the latter being confined, I believe, to 
the Scandinavians, the Teutons, and their allied 

Nothing can be more unpleasant than the Portu- 
guese spoken by the Congoman. He transposes the 
letters lacking the proper sounds in his own tongue ; 
for instance, "sinholo" (sinyolo) is "senhor;" 
"munyele" or"minyeIe" is "mulher;" "O luo" 
stands in lieu of " O rio," (the river)^; " rua" of " lua" 
(luna), and so forth. For to-morrow you must use 
" cedo " as " manhaa " would not be understood, 
and the prolixity of the native language is trans- 
ferred to the foreign idiom. For instance, if you 
ask, "What do you call this thing?" the para- 
phrase to be intelligible would be, " The white man 
calk this thing so-and-so ; what does the Fiote 
call this thing ? " sixteen words for six. I have 
elsewhere remarked how Englishmen make them- 
selves unintelligible by transferring to Hindostani 
and other Asiatic tongues the conciseness of their 
own idiom, in which as much is understood as is 


232 Life at Banza Nokki. 

expressed. We can well understand the outraged 
feelings with which poor Father Cannecattim heard 
his sermons travestied by the Abundo negroes do 
Paiz or linguists, the effect of which was to make 
him compose his laborious dictionary in Angolan, 
Latin, and Portuguese. His wrath in reflecting 
upon " estos homems ou estos brutos " drives the 
ecclesiastic to imitate the ill-conditioned layman 
who habitually addresses his slave as " O brute ! 
O burro ! O bicho ! O diabo ! " when he does not 
apply the more injurious native terms as " Konong- 
wako" and " Vendengwandi." It is only fair to 
confess that no race is harsher in its language and 
manners to its " black brethren," than the Uberated 
Africans of the English setdements. 

At Banza Nokki I saw the first specimen of a 
Mundongo slave girl. The tribe is confounded 
with the Mandingo (Mandenga) Moslems by the 
author of the " Introduction to Tuckey's Journey " 
(p. Ixxxi.); by Tuckey (p. 141). who also calls 
them Mandonzo (p. 135), and by Prof. Smith (p. 
315) ; but not by the accurate Marsden (p. 389). 
She described her tribe as living inland to the 
east and north-east of the Congo peoples, distant 
two moons — a detail, of course, not to be depended 
upon. I afterwards met many of these " captives," 
who declared that they had been sold after defeats : 
a fine, tall race, one is equal to two Congo men. 
and the boldness of demeanour in both sexes dis- 


Life at Banza Nokki. 233 

tinguishes them from other serviles. Apparently 
under this name there are several tribes inhabiting 
lands of various elevations ; some are coloured 
cafi au laU, as if born in a high and healthy 
■region ; others are almost jet black with the hair 
frightfully " wispy," like a mop. Generally the 
head is bullet-shaped, the face round, the features 
negroid, not negro, and the hands and feet large 
but not ill-shaped. Some again have the Hausa 
mark, thread-like perpendicular cuts from the zy- 
gomatic arches running parallel with the chin ; in 
other cases the stigmata are broad beauty-slashes 
drawn transversely across the cheeks to the jaw- 
bone, and forming with the vertical axis an angle 
of 45°. All are exceedingly fond of meat, and, 
like the Kru-men, will devour it semi-putrified. 
The Congoese declare them to be " papagentes " 
(cannibals), a terra generally applied by the more 
advanced to the bushmen living beyond their fron- 
tier, and useful to deter travellers and runaways. 
They themselves declare that they eat the slain 
only after a battle — the sentimental form of anthro- 
pophagy. The slave-girl produced on this occasion 
was told to sing ; after receiving some beads, with- 
out which she would not open her lips, we were 
treated to a " criard " performance which reminded 
me of the " heavenly muse " in the Lake Regions 
of Central Africa. 
The neighbours of the Mundongos are the 


234 Life ^^ Banza Nokki. 

Mubangos, the Muyanji (Muyanzl ?), and the 
Mijolo, by some called Mijere. Possibly Tuckey 
alludes to the Mijolos when he tells us (p. 141), 
that the " Mandingo " slave whom he bought on the 
Upper River, called his country " M'intolo." I 
have seen specimens of the three, who are so 
similar in appearance that a stranger distinguishes 
them only by the tattoo. No. i gashes a line from 
the root of the hair to the commissure of the nose : 
No. 2 has a patch of cuts, five in length and three 
in depth, extending from the bend of the eye-brow 
across the zygomata to the ear, and No. 3 wears 
cuts across the forehead. I was shown a sword 
belonging to the Mijolo : all declared that it is of 
native make ; yet it irresistibly suggested the old 
two-handed weapon of Europe, preserved by 
the Bedawin and the Eastern Arabs, who now 
mostly derive it from Sollingen. The long, 
straight, flexible, and double-edged blade is 
neatly mounted by the tang in a handle with a 
pommel, or terminating knob, of ivory ; others 
prefer wood. The guard is very peculiar, a thin 
bar of iron springing from the junction of blade 
and grip, forming an open oval below, and pro- 
longed upwards and downwards in two branches 
parallel with the handle, and protecting the hand. 
They dance, brandishing this weapon, accordingto 
the slaves, in the presence of their princes. 

I inquired vainly about the Anzicos, Anzichi. 


Life at Banza Nokki. 235 

Anzigui, Anzigi, or Anziki, whose king, Makoko, 
the ruler of thirteen kingdoms, was placed by Dap- 
per north-west of Monemugi (Unyamwezi), and 
whom Pigafetta (p. 79) located close to the Congo, 
and near his northern Lake. " It is true that there 
are two lakes, not, however, lying east and west 
(Ptolemy's system), but north and south of each 
other, and about 400 miles asunder. The first is in 
south latitude 12°. The Nile, issuing from it, does 
not, according to Odoardo (Duarte Lopez), sink in 
the earth nor conceal itself, but, after flowing north- 
wards, it enters the second lake, which is 2 20 miles 
in extent, and is called by the natives a sea." If 
the Tanganyika shall be found to connect with the 
Luta Nzige or Mwutan Lake, this passage will be 
found wonderfully truthful. The Tanganyika's 
southern versant is now placed in south latitude 
8° 46' 54", or in round numbers 9°, and the other 
figures are nearly as correct. James Barbotcauses 
these Anzikos to wander "almost through all 
Africa," from Nubia to the Congo, like negro 
Bedawin or Scythians ; the common food was 
man's flesh fattened for the market and eaten by 
the relatives, even of those who died diseased. 
Their "capital," Monsol, was built by D'Anviile, 
close to the equator in the very centre of Africa (east 
longitude Greenwich, 26" 20') hard by Douville's 
"Yanvo;" and the "Opener of Inner Africa in 
1852" (pp. 3, 4, 69), with equal correctness, caused 


236 Life at Banza Nokki. 

them to " occupy the hills opposite to Sundi, and ex- 
tending downwards to Emboma below the Falls." 

Mr. Cooley ("Ocean Highways," June, 1873), 
now explains the word as A-nzi-co, "people not 
of the country," barbarians, bushmen. This 
kind of information, derived from a superficial 
knowledge of an Angolan vocabulary, is pecu- 
liarly valueless, I doubt that a negative can 
thus be suffixed to a genitive. The name may 
simply have been A-nziko (man) of the back-setde- 
ment In 1832, Mr, Cooley writes: "the nation 
ofthe Anziko (or Ngeco) :" in 1845, "the Anziki, 
north of Congo:" in 1852, "the Micoco or king 
of the Anziko" — undso weiter. What can we make 
of this geographical Proteus ? The first Congo 
Expedition who covered all the ground where the 
Creator of the Great Central Sea places the An- 
zikos, never heard of them-.— nor will the second. 

Not being then so well convinced of the non- 
existence of the Giaghi, Giagas, Gagas, or Jagas 
as a nation, I inquired as vainly for those terrible 
cannibals who had gone the way of all the Anzi- 
kos. According to Lopez, Battel, Merolla, and 
others, they " consider human flesh as the most 
delicious food, and goblets of warm blood as the 
most exquisite beverage." This act on the 
part of savage warriors might have been a 
show of mere bravado. But I cannot agree with 
the editor of Tuckey's " Narrative," " From the 


Life at Banza Nokki. 237 

character and disposition of the native African, 
it may fairly be doubted whether, throughout the 
whole of this great continent, a negro cannibal has 
any existence." The year 1816 was the Augustan 
age of outrageous negrophiHsm and equally ex- 
treme anti-NapoIeonism. " If a French general" 
(Introduction, p. i), " brutally seized the person 
and papers of a British naval officer, on his return 
from a voyage of discovery," who, I would ask, 
plundered and destroyed the fine botanical collec- 
tion made at risk of health and life, during fifteen 
months of hard labour, by the learned Palisot de 
Beauvois, author of the " Flore d'Oware ? " The 
"Reviewer" of Douville (p. 177) as sensibly de- 
clares that cannibalism " has hitherto continually 
retired before the investigation of sober-minded, 
enlightened men," when, after a century or two of 
intercourse with white traders, it still flourishes on 
the Bonny and New Calabar Rivers. 

We are glad to be rid of the Jagas, a subject 
which has a small literature of its own ; the savage 
race appeared everywhere like a " deus ex ma- 
chinA," and it became to Intertropical Africa what 
the " Lost Tribes" were and even now are in 
some cases, to Asia and not rarely to Europe. Even 
the sensible Mr. Wilson ("West Africa," p. 238) 
has " no doubt of the Jagas being the same people 
with the more modernly discovered Pangwes" 
(Fd«s) ; and this is duly copied by M. du Chaillu 


238 Life at Banza Nokki. 

(chap. viii.). M. Valdez (ii. 150) more sensibly 
records that the first Jaga established in Portu- 
guese territory was called Colaxingo (Kolas- 
hingo), and that his descendants were named 
" Jagas," like the Egj-ptian Pharaohs, the Roman 
Caesars, the Austrian Kaisers, and the Russian 
Czars : he also reminds us (p. 150) that the chief 
of the Bangalas inhabiting Cassange (= KasanjI) 
was the Jaga or ruler /ar excellence. 

Early on the morning of September 11. I was 
aroused by a " bob" in the open before us. We 
started up, fearing that some death by accident 
had taken place : the occasion proved, on the con- 
trary, to be one of ushering into life. The women 
were assembled in a ring round the mother, and 
each howled with all the might of her lungs, 
either to keep off some evil spirit or to drown the 
sufferer's cries. In some parts of Africa, the Gold 
Coast for instance, it is considered infamous for a 
woman thus to betray her pain, but here we are 
amongst a softer race. 




IDI MAV.UNGA, finding me in his 
power, began, like a thoroughbred 
African, to raise obstacles. We must 
pass through the lands of two kings, 
the Mfumo ma Vivi (Bibbie of Tuckey) and the 
Mfumu Nkulu or Nkuru (Cooloo). The distance 
was short, but it would occupy five days, meaning 
a week. Before positively promising an escort he 
said it would be necessary to inspect my outfit ; 
I at once placed it in the old man's hands, the 
better to say, " This is not mine, ask Gidi Ma- 
vunga for it." 

My patience had been severely tried on first 
arrival at Banza Nokki. From ruler to slave 
ev.ery one begged for cloth and rum, till I learned 
to hate the names of these necessaries. Besides 
the five recognized kings of the district, who wore 
black cloth coats, all the petty chiefs of the neigh- 
bourhood flocked in, importunate to share the 


240 Preparations for the March. 

spoils, A tariff, about one-third higher than at 
Boma, was set upon every article and. if the most 
outrageous price was refused, the seller, assuming 
an insipid expression of countenance, declared 
that great white men travelled with barrels, not 
with bottles of aguardente, and that without libe- 
rality it would be impossible to leave the village. 
Nsundi, the settlement above the Falls, was a 
journey of two moons, and none of the ten 
" kings " on the way would take less than Nessudi- 
kira's " dash." Congo Grande, as the people call 
SSo Salvador, was only four marches to the E.S.E.; 
the road, however, was "dangerous, and an escort of 
at least fifty men would be necessary. 

But when I was " upon the head of Gidi Ma- 
vunga " matters changed for the better. Shortly 
after he took charge, one Tetu Mayella, " King" of 
Neprat, accompanied by some twenty followers, 
entered the village with a view to the stranger's 
rum : by referring them to the new owner they 
perforce contented themselves after three hours' 
" parliamenting," with a single bottle. The ruler of 
Nokki wanted, besides gin and cloth, a pair of 
shoes for his poor feet, which looked clad in alli- 
gator's skin ; I referred him to his father, and he 
got little by that motion. 

On the evening of September i o, Gidi Mavunga, 
who had been visiting his " small country," re- 
turned, and declared himself ready to set out. He 


Preparations for the March. 24 1 

placed before me ten heaps, each of as many ground- 
nuts, and made me understand that, for visiting 
Nsundi and S. Salvador, he would take fifty short 
" pieces" (of cloth) for himself and the same number 
for his slaves ; one moiety to be advanced before 
the first trip to the Cataracts and the rest to follow. 
For half my store of beads he undertook to ration 
his men ; a work which would have given us 
endless trouble. As I agreed to all his conditions 
he promised to move on the next day — without 
the least intention of carrying out any one of his 

These people are rich, and not easily tempted 
to hard work. During the French Emigration, 
the district of Banza Nokki drove slaves to the 
value of 60,000 dollars per annum, and the dollar 
is to the African the pound sterling of Europe. 
It is one of the hundred out-stations which sup- 
plied the main d^p6ts, Boma and Porto da Lenha. 
Small parties went out at certain seasons provided 
with rum, gunpowder, and a little cloth ; and either 
bought the "chattels" or paid earnest money, pro- 
mising to settle the whole debt at their villages. 
Gidi Mavunga, like most of the elders, was per- 
fectly acquainted with the routes to Nsundi, S. Sal- 
vador, and other frontier places, where the bush 
people brought down their criminals and captives 
for barter. Beyond those points his information 
was all from hearsay. 


242 Preparalums for the March. 

Besides the large stores in their "small coun- 
tries," the middle-men have a multitude of re- 
tainers, who may at any moment be converted iato 
capital. Yet " slave " is a term hardly applicable 
to such " chattels," who, as a rule, are free as their 
lords. They hold at their disposal all that the 
master possesses, except his wives ; they sleep 
when they choose, they work when they like; 
they attend to their private ailbirs, and, if blamed 
or punished, they either run away, as at Zanzibar, 
to their own country, or they take sanctuary with 
some neighbouring Mfumo, who, despite the. in- 
evitable feud, is bound by custom to protect them. 
Cold and hunger, the torments of the poor in 
Europe, are absolutely unknown to them, and 
their condition contrasts most favourably with the 
" vassus " and the " servus*" of our feudal times. 
Their wives and children are their own : the master 
cannot claim the tyrannous marriage-rights of the 
baron; no "wedding-dish" is carried up to the 
castle; nor is the eldest bom "accounted the son 
of the serf's lord, for he perchance it was who 
begat him." The brutality of slavery, I must 
repeat, is mainly the effect of civilization. " 1 
shall never forget," says Captain Boteler, "the 
impatient tosses of the head and angry looks 
displayed by a — lady — when the subject was can- 
vassed. ' A negro, a paltry negro, ever undo"- 
stand or conform to the social tie of wedlock! 

n,g,t,7rJM,GOOglC ^ 

Preparations for tlu March. 243 

No, never! never!' Yet this lady was an English- 
woman." And when James Barbot's supercargo 
begins to examine -his negroes like cattle he is 
b^[ged, for decency's sake, to do it in a private 
place, " which shows these blacks are very modest." 
It rather proved the whites to be the reverse. 

At 7.20 A.M. on September 11, the "moleques" 
seized our lug^^^e, and we suddenly found our- 
selves on the path. Gidi Mavunga, wearing pagne 
and fetish-bag, and handling a thin stick in which 
two bulges had been cut, led us out of Banza 
Nokki, and took a S.S.W. direction. The uneven 
ground was covered with a bitter tomato (nenga) 
and with the shrub which, according to Herodotus, 
bears wool instead of fruit I sent home speci- 
mens of this gossypium arboreum, which every- 
where grows wild and which is chiefly used for 
wicks. There is scant hope of cotton-culture 
amongst a people whose industry barely suffices 
for ground-nuts. The stiff clay soil everywhere 
showed traces of iron, and the guide pointed out 
a palm-tree which had been split by the electric 
fluid, and a broad, deep furrow, several feet long, 
ending in a hole. The Nzazhi (lightning) is as 
dangerous and as much dreaded on these hills 
as in Uganda : the south-west trade meets the 
land wind from the north-east ; strata of clouds 
in different states of electricity combine, says the 
popular theory, to produce the thunder and Ught- 


244 Preparations for the March. 

ning which accompany rain like the storms upon 

the mountains of Yemen. After 30' (= i "50 miles) 
we reached our destination, Banza Chinguvu, the 
head-quarters of Gidi Mavunga. As we entered 
it he pointed to a pot full of greasy stuff under a 
dwarf shed, saying, " Isso h meu Deus :" it was 
in fact his Baka chya Mazinga. Beyona it stood 
the temple of Nbambi ; two suspended pieces of 
wood, cut 'in the shape of horns, bore monkey 
skins on both sides of a dead armadillo, an animal 
supposed to attract lightning when alive, and to 
repel it after death. 

The Banza was beautifully situated on a dwarf 
platform, catching the full force of the sea-breeze, 
and commanding to the north-west a picturesque 
glimpse of the 

" waters rippling, flowing, 
Flashing aloi% the valley to the sea ;" 

a mountain tarn representing the mighty stream. 
On the right lay fields, dotted with papaw-trees, 
andplantationsofmaize and manioc, thur(Gt/a«»^), 
and sweet potatoes, a vegetable now common, but 
not noticed by Tuckey ; on the left, a deep ravine, 
densely forested with noble growth, and supplying 
the best of water, divides it from Tadi ja Mfimo, a 
pile of rock on the opposite hill-side ; here lay the 
Itombo village, belonging to Gidi Mavunga's 
eldest son. Beyond it, the tree-clad heights, roll- 


Preparations for t/ie March. 245 

ing away into the distance, faded from blue-brown 
to the faintest azure, hardly to be distinguished 
from the empyrean above. The climate of these 
breezy uplands is superior even to that of Banza 
Nokki, which lies some 1 70 feet lower ; and the 
nights are sensibly cooler. 

A few fathoms of altitude here make a sur- 
prising difference. The little valleys with their 
chilet-like huts reminded me of the Maroro and 
Kisanga basins, in the sister formation, the East 
African Ghats, but now we have a hill-climate 
without ague and fever. Our parallel is that 
of Yorukan Abokuta, where the peopl'e are anti- 
ceci, both being about 6° distant from the Line, — 
those north, these south. There the bush is fetid, 
and the clammy air gives a sense of deadly de- 
pression ; here the atmosphere is pure, the land is 
open, and there is enjoyment in the mere sense of 
life.- The effete matter in the blood and the fatty 
d^eneration of the muscles, the results of inac- 
tivity, imperfect respiration, and F. Po, were soon 
consumed by the pure oxygen of the highland air. 
I can attribute this superiority of the Congo region 
only to the labours of an old civilization now obso- 
lete ; none but a thick and energetic population 
could have cleared off the forest, which at one 
time must have covered their mountains. 

The Banza consists of about fifty cottages, which 
are being new-thatched before the rains, and the 


246 Preparations for the March. 

population may number 300. Our host assigned 
to us one of his own huts ; it fronted west, and was 
a facsimile of that which we had just left The 
old fox, determined not to be " taken alive," has 
provided his earth with three holes, opening to the 
north, to the east, and to the west We often 
detected him in the " ben," the matrimonial sanc- 
tum, listening to private conversations which he 
could not understand. Gidi Mavunga is decidedly 
a "serious person." The three walls round the 
standing bedstead are hung with charms and 
amulets, like the sacred pictures in country parts 
of Europe ; and at the head is his " Mavunga," of 
which Tuckey says {p. r8o), "Each village has 
a grand kissey (nkisi), or presiding divinity, named 
Mevonga :" it is an anthropoid log, about three feet 
high, red, white, and black, the former colour pre- 
dominating. Two bits of looking-glass represent 
the eyes, the nose is patulous, as though offended 
by evil savour; the upper lip is drawn up in dis- 
dain, the under overlaps the chin ; and a little 
mirror is inserted into the umbilical region. Ma- 
vunga's dress is represented by an English billy- 
cock hat; while all kinds of" medicines," calabashes, 
and a coarse knife depend from his neck to his 
shoulders. The figures at the door are generally 
called " Ngolowindi" 

It is said, I believe, of the Englishwoman — 

" If she will, she will, you may depend on't; 
If she won't, she won't, and there's an end on 't." 


Preparations for ike March. 247 

I may safeJy predicate the same of the negro, who 
owns, like the goose, a "singularly inflexible organi- 
zation." Whenever he can, he will, and he must, 
have his head. Gidi Mavunga would not even 
break his fast before touching the cloth and beads, 
which are to pay for guidance and carriage. The 
hut-door was- closed, and in half an hour all was 
settled to every one's satisfaction. Yet the ve- 
teran did not disdain a little rascality. Awaiting 
his opportunity, he tossed into a dark corner a 
little bundle of two fancy cloths which I had given 
the " linguistero " and, when detected, he shame- 
lessly declared that such people have ho right to 

Finally, our departure was settled for the next 
morning, and the women at once began their pre- 
parations. Although they have sperm-candles,- 
torches are preferred for the road ; odoriferous 
gums are made up, as in the Gaboon, with rags or 
splints of bark; hence the old writers say, " instead 
of putting wicks into the torches, they put torches 
into the wicks." The travelling foods are mostiy 
boiled batatas (sweet potatoes), Kwanga, a hard 
and innutritious pudding-like preparation of cassava 
which the " Expedition " (p. 197) calls " Coongo, a 
bitter root, that requires four days' boiling to de- 
prive it of its pernicious quality ;" this is probably 
the black or poisonous manioc. The national 
dish, " chindungwa," would test the mouth of 
any curry-eater in the world : it is composed of 


248 Preparations for the Marcli. 

boiled ground-nuts and red peppers in equal pro- 
portions, pounded separately in wooden mortars, 
mixed and squeezed to drain off the oil ; the hard 
mass, flavoured with salt or honey, will keep for 
weeks. The bees are not hived in Congo-land, 
but smoked out of hollow trees : as in F. Po and 
Camarones Peaks, they rarely sting, like the harm- 
less Angelito of the Caraccas, " siila," or saddleback ; 
which Humboldt (" Personal Narrative," chap, 
xiii.) describes as a " little hairy bee, a little 
smaller than the honey-bee of the north of Eu- 
rope." Captain Hall found the same near Tam- 
pico ; and a hive-full was sent to the blind but 
ingenious Francis Huber of Geneva, who died in 
1 83 1 . This seems to be the case with the busy 
hymenopter generally in the highlands of Africa; 
the lowland swarms have been the terror of tra- 
vellers from Mungo Park's day to that of the 
first East African Expedition. 

About noon we were visited by the confidential 
slaves of a neighbouring chief, who prospectively 
welcomed us to his territory. These men were 
gaudily attired in cast-off clothes, and in the crim- 
son night-caps formerly affected by the English 
labourer : on the mountains, where the helmet is 
confined to royalty, it is the head-dress used for 
state occasions. They sat in the hut, chatting, 
laughing, and discussing palm wine by the gallon, 
till they had their wicked will in the shape of a 


Preparations for the March. 249 

bottle of gin ; after this, they departed with many 
low congas. 

It was a study to see Gidi Mavunga amidst the 
vassals and serfs of his own village. He had no 
moated castle, no " Quinquengrogne ;" but his habi- 
tation was grander far, — that glorious hill-side, 
with all its prospects of mountain and river, field 
and forest, valley and village. As he sat upon the 
mat under his litde piazza, all the dependants 
gathered in an outer semicircle, the children, dogs, 
and cats forming an inner chord. A crowd of 
"moleques" placed before him three black pots, 
one containing a savoury stew, the others beans 
and vegetables, which he transferred to a deep 
platter, and proved himself no mean trencherman. 
The earthenware is of native make, by no means 
ornamental, but useful because it retains the heat ; 
it resembles the produce of the Gold Coast, and 
the " pepper-pot " platter of the West Indies. His 
cup was filled as fast as he drained the palm wine, 
and, at times, he passed a huge mouthful to a small 
son or daughter, smiling at the serious and awk- 
ward attempts at deglutition. The washing of 
hands and mouth before and after feeding shows 
prepress after Tuckey's day (p. 360). We were 
not asked to join him : an African, when upon a 
journey, will beg for everything he sees you eat or 
drink, but there is no return in kind. I have read 
of negro hospitality, but it has never been my fate 


250 Preparations /or ike March. 

to witness an approach to that virtue. The chief 
will, it is true, quarrel with you if his house be 
passed without a visit; but his object in taking 
you in is to make all he can of you. If a purse be 
pulled out, he waxes wroth, because he wishes to 
secure at once the reputation of generosity and 
the profits of a present doubling the worth of a 
regular "addition." When Gidi Mavunga rose 
from his meal, the elder dependants took his place ; 
the junior bipeds followed, and the remnants were 
thrown to the quadrupeds. It was a fair copy in 
black of a baronial and mediaeval life. 

The dogs were not neglected during the meal ; 
but over-eagerness was repressed by a stout 
truncheon lying handily near the old negro Jarl. 
The animals are small and stunted, long-nosed 
and crooked-limbed, with curly tails often cut, 
sharp ears which show that they have not lost the 
use of the erecting muscles, and so far wild that 
they cannot bark. The colour is either black and 
white or yellow and white, as in Stambul and 
India, Overrun with ticks and foul with mange, 
they are too broken-spirited to rob, except by 
secretly sneaking into the huts, and, however 
often beaten off, they return to the charge like 
sitting hens. The people prize these wretched 
tikes, because they are ever ready to worry a 
stranger, and are useful in driving game from the 
bush. Yet they barbarously ill-treat them. The 


Preparations for the March, 251 

hungry cats are as poor a breed as the pure Eng- 
lish, and, though no one feeds them, these domes- 
ticated tigerkins swarm. The only happy pets 
are the parrots. Every village swarms with hogs, 
the filthy wealth of the old Saxon proprietor, and 
their habits are disgusting as their forms are ob- 
scene. Every Anglo-Indian will understand what 
1 mean. 

My memory of " Congo chop " is all in its 
favour : I can recommend it even to " Fin Bee." 
The people of S'a Leone declare that your life is 
safe when you can enjoy native food. Perhaps 
this means that, during the time required to train 
the palate, strangers will have escaped their " sea- 
soning " fevers and chills. But foreigners will cer- 
tainly fare better and, cateris paribus, outlive their 
brother whites, when they can substitute African 
stews for the roast and boiled goat and cow, likest 
to donkey-meat, for the waxy and insipid potato 
and for heavy pudding and tart, with which their 
jaded stomach is laden, as if it had the digestion 
of north latitude 50°. It is popularly believed 
that the Germans, who come from the land of 
greatest extremes, live longer at the White Man's 
Grave than the English, whereas the Spaniards are 
the most short-lived, one consul per annum being 
the normal rate. Perhaps the greater "adapta- 
bility " of the Teuton explains the cause. 

The evening began with a game of ball in the 


252 Preparations for the Marc/t. 

large open space amongst the houses forming the 
village square. The implement was a roll of 
palm-coir tightly bound with the central fibre of 
the plantain-leaf. The players, two parties of 
some twenty slaves, of all ages and sizes, min- 
gled, each side striving to catch the ball, and 
with many feints and antics to pass it on to a 
friend. When it fell out of bounds, the juniors 
ran to pick it up with frantic screams. It was 
interesting, as showing the difference between the 
highlander and the lowlander ; one might pass 
years on the Congo plains without seeing so much 
voluntary exertion : yet a similar game of ball is 
described by the Rev. Mr. Waddell (" Twenty-nine 
years in the West Indies and Central Africa," 
chap, xvii. London, Nelsons, 1863). The evening 
ended, as it often does before a march, when rest 
is required, with extra hard work, a drinking bout 
deep as the Rhineland baron's in the good old 
time, and a dance in which both sexes joined. As 
there were neither torches nor moon, I did not 
attend ; the singing, the shouting, and the drum- 
ming, which lasted till midnight, spoke well for the 
agility and endurance of the fair montagtuirdes. 

What lightens Gidi Mavunga's steps is the 
immediate prospect of the Munlola or preliminary 
showers, which, beginning in mid-September, last, 
with a certain persistence of fall, till October. 
During the Munlola, the sea-breeze is silent, and 


Preparations for the March, 253 

the sky is clad with a very thin mist, which, how- 
ever, supplies abundant downfalls. The year in 
the Lower Congo corresponds with that of the 
Gaboon in practice, if not in theory, and the 
storms are furious as those of Yoruba, where the 
seasons are, of course, inverted, the great rains 
extending from May to August The climate is 
apricious, as everywhere about the equator, and 
the nearer the river the heavier are the showers. 
The people double their lives by reckoning the 
rains as one year, and the dries as another : 
when the old missionaries wished to explain that 
the Saviour offered Himself for the sins of man at 
the age of thirty-three, they said that he was sixty- 
six seasons old. 

After the light rains of the autumnal equinox, 
come the Mvula za Chintomba, the "Chuvas 
grandes" of the Portuguese, lasting to the end 
of November. They are heavy, accompanied by 
violent tornadoes and storms, greatly feared by the 
people. The moisture of the atmosphere, not being 
gradually condensed by forests, must be precipi- 
tated in violent downfalls, and this is perhaps the 
principal evil of clearing the country. December 
b^ns the " little dries," which extend to February 
and March ; then set in the rains of the vernal 
equinox, with furious discharges of electricity; 
June is the wettest month on the highlands, but 
not on the lower river. In mid-July commence 


254 Preparations /or the March. 

the "middle-dries," here called Ngondi Asivu 
(Tuckey's " Gondy Assivoo") ; upon the upper river 
this Cacimbo lasts between April and September ; 
when it passes over the bush is burned, and the 
women hoe the ground to receive its seed. Carli 
well describes this season when he says : — " The 
winter of the kingdom of Congo is the mild 
spring or autumn of Italy; it is not subject to 
rains, but every morning there falls a dew which 
fertilizes the earth." This meteor was not ob- 
served on the highlands of Banza Nokki and 
Nkulu ; it is probably confined to the low country, 
where I found it falling heavily. 




aUT revelry at night brings morning 
headache, and we did not set out, as 
agreed, at dawn. By slow degrees the 
grumbling, loitering party was mustered. 
The chiefs were Gidi Mavunga, head guide, and 
his son Papagayo, a dull quiet body; Chico 
Mpamba, " French landlord" of Banza Nokki, and 
my interpreter Nchama Chamvu. Fourteen armed 
moleques carried our hammock§ and our little 
viaticum in the shape of four bottles of present- 
g^n, two costa-finas, (= twenty-four yards of fancy 
cotton), and fourteen fathoms of satin-stripe, the 
latter a reserved fund. The boy " Lendo," whose 
appropriate name means " The Go," bore a burden 
of his own size all day, and afcted as Htde foot- 
page at the halt The " gentlemen " were in full 
travelling costume. Slung by a thong fo the chief 
guide's left shoulder were a tiger-cat skin, carda- 


256 The March to Banza Nkulu. 

mom-sheaths and birds' beaks and claws clustering 
round a something in shape like the laigest German 
sausage, the whole ruddled with ochre : this charm 
must not be touched by the herd ; a slave-lad, 
having unwittingly offended, knelt down whilst 
the wearer applied a dusty big toe between his 
eyebrows. Papagayo had a bag of grass-cloth 
and bits of cane, from which protruded strips of 
leather and scarlet broadcloth. 

At 6.45 A.M. on Saturday, September 12, we 
exchanged the fields surrounding Banza Chinguvu 
for a ridge or narrow plateau trending to the 
north-east and bending to the magnetic north. A 
few minutes led to a rock -slope, fit only for goat- 
hoofs or nude-footed natives. Winding along the 
hill-sides, we passed out of the Nokki territory into 
that of Ntombo, the property of Mfumo Nelongo : 
here we descended into a litde vale or gorge bright 
as verdure could make it — 

" arborets and flowers 
Imborder'd on each bank " 

of a bubbling brook, a true naiad of the hills, 
which ran to the embrace of the mighty stream ; it 
characteristically stained its bed with iron. On our 
right was a conspitXious landmark, Zululu ke Som- 
be, a tall rock bearing the semblance of an ele- 
phant froift the north-east, visible from the Congo's 
right bank and commanding a view of all the hills. 




The March to Bama Nkulu. 257 

Banza Vivi, our first destination, perching high on 
the farther side of the blue depression, bore due 
north. We then struck the roughest of descents, 
down broken outcrops and chines of granite — no 
wonder that the women have such grand legs. 
This led us into a dark green depression where 
lay Banza Chinsavu, the abode of King Nelongo. 
Our course had been three miles to the north- 

Nothing can be more charming than the site, 
a small horseshoe valley, formed by a Wady or 
Fiumara, upon whose raised left bank stands the 
settlement, sheltered by palms, plantations, and 
wild figs. Eastward is a slope of bare rock 
polished by the rain-torrents; westward rise the 
grassy hills variegated with bush and boulder. 
We next crossed a rocky divide to the north and 
found a second basin also fertilized by its own 
stream ; here the cactus and aloes, the vegetation 
of the desert, contrasted with half-a-dozen shades 
of green, the banana, the sycamore, the egg-plant, 
the sweet potato, the wild pepper, and the grass, 
whose colours were paling, but not so rapidly as 
in the lower lands. 

We dismounted in state from our tipoias at 
the verandah of an empty house, where a chair 
had been placed ; and we prepared for the usual de- 
lay and display. The guides will not leave these 
villages unvisited lest a "war" result ; all the chiefs 


258 The March to Bama Nkulu. 

are cousins and one must not monopolize the 
plunder. A great man takes an hour to dress, and 
Nelongo was evidendy soothing the toils of the 
toilette with a musical bellows called an accordeon. 
He sent us some poor, well-watered Msdmbd 
(palm toddy), and presently he appeared, a fat, 
good-natured man, as usual, ridiculously habited. 
He took the first opportunity of curdy saying in 
better Portuguese than usual, " There is no more 
march to-day ! " This was rather too much for a 
somewhat testy traveller, when he changed his 
tone, begged me not to embroil him with a power- 
ful neighbour, and promised that we should set out 
that evening. He at once sent for provisions, 
fowls, and a small river-fish, sugar-cane, and a fine 
bunch of S. Thom^ bananas. 

About noon appeared Chico Furano, son of the 
late Chico de Ouro, in his quality of " English 
linguister;" a low position to which want of 
" savvy " has reduced him. His studies of our 
tongue are represented by an eternal " Yes ! " his 
wits by the negative ; he boasts of knowing how 
to " tratar com o branco " and, declining to bar- 
gain, he robs double. He is a short, small, dark 
man with mountaineer legs, a frightful psora, and 
an inveterate habit of drink. He saluted his 
superior, Nelongo, with immense ceremony, dating 
probably from the palmy times of the Mwani- 
Congo. Equals squat before one another, and 


The March to Banza Nkulu. 259 

shaking hands crosswise clap palms. Chico 
Furano kneels, places both " ferients " upon the 
earth and touches his nose-tip ; he then traces 
three ground-crosses with the Jovian finger; 
^in touches his nose ; beats his " volae " on the 
dust, and draws them along the cheeks ; then he 
bends down, applying firstly the right, secondly the 
left face side, and lastly the palms and dorsa of the 
hands to mother earth. Both superior and inferior 
end with the Sakila or batta-palmas,* three bouts 
of three claps in the best of time separated by the 
shortest of pauses, and lastly a " tiger " of four 
claps. The ceremony is more elaborate than the 
"wallowings" and dust-shovellings described by 
Ibn Batuta at the Asiatic courts, by Jobson at 
Tenda,byChapperton at Oyo,by Denham amongst 
the Mesgows, and by travellers to Dahome and to 
the Cazembe. Yet the system is virtually the same 
in these distant kingdoms, which do not know one 
another's names. 

Chico Furano brought a Mundongo slave, a fine 
specimen of humanity, some six feet high, weighing 
perhaps thirteen stone, all bone and muscle, willing 
and hard-working, looking upon the Congo men 
as if they were women or children. He spoke 
a few words of Portuguese, and with the master's 

' This palm-clappiag is often alluded to in " Muata Ca- 
zembe" (pp. 223 et passim). 


26o The March to Banza Nkulu. 

assistance I was able to catechize him. He did not 
deny that his people were " papagentes," but he 
declared that they confined the practice to slain 
enemies. He told a number of classical tales 
about double men, attached, not like the Siamese 
twins, but dos-h-dos ; of tribes whose feet acted as 
parasols, the Plinian Sciapodae and the Persian 
Tasmeh-pa, and of mermen who live and sleep in 
the inner waters — 1 also heard this from M. 
Parrot, a palpable believer. He described his 
journey down the great river, and declared that 
beyond his country's frontier the Nzadi issues 
from a lake which he described as having a sea- 
horizon, where canoes lose sight of land, and 
where they are in danger from violent storms ; he 
described the latter with great animation, and his de- 
scriptions much reminded me ofDibbie, the "Dark 
Lake." Probably this was genuine geography, al- 
though he could not tell the name of the inner sea, 
the Achelunda of old cosmographers. Tuckey's map 
also lays down in N.Iat.2°to3°andin E.long. (G.) 
i7''to iS'agreatswamp draining to the south; and 
his "Narrative " (p. 178) tells us that some thirty 
days above Banza Mavunda, which is 30 to 24 
miles above the Yellala, " the river issues by many 
small streams from a great marsh or lake of mud." 
This would suggest a reservoir alternately flooded 
and shrinking; possibly lacustrine bays and the 
bulges formed by the middle course of the Lualaba. 


Ths March to Banza Nkulu, 261 

Despite the promise, we were delayed by King 
Nekorado, whose town, Palabala, lies at some dis- 
tance, and who, negro-like, will consult only his 
own convenience. In the afternoon we were 
visited by a royal son, who announced that his 
royal father feared the heat, but would appear 
with the moon, which was equivalent to saying 
that we might expect him on the morrow. He is 
known to be a gueux, and Gidi Mavunga boasts 
of having harried and burned sundry of his vil- 
lages, so he must make up by appearance for 
deficient reality. His appearance was announced 
by the Mpungi, the Egyptian Zagharit, the Persian 
Kil ; this " lullilooing " ■ in the bush country be- 
comes an odd moaning howl like the hyzena's laugh. 
Runners and criers preceded the hammock, which 
he had probably mounted at the first field ; a pet 
slave carried his chair, covered with crimson 
cloth, and Fr^d^rique his "linguister" paced 
proudly by its side. 

After robing himself in Nelongo's house, King 
Nekorado held a levee under the shadiest fig, 
which acted bentang-tree ; all the moleques squat- 
ting in a demi-lune before the presence. A short 
black man, with the round eyes, the button- 
like nose, the fat circular face, and the weakly 
vanishing chin which denote the lower type of 
Congoese, he coldly extended a chimpanzee's paw 
without rising or raising his eyes, in token that 


26a The March to Bama Nkulu. 

nothing around him deserved a glance. I made 
him au-fait as to my intentions, produced, as 
" mata-bicho," a bottle of gin, and sent a dash of 
costa-fina, to which a few yards of satin-stripe 
were thrown in. 

The gin was drunk with the usual greed, and 
the presents were received with the normal objec- 

" Why should not I, a king like Nessudikira, 
receive a ' dash ' equal to his ? " 

" He is my host, I pay him for bed and board ! " 

" We are all cousins ; why shall one be treated 
better than the other ?" 

" As you please ! you have received your due, 
and to-day we march." 

After this I rose and returned to my hut ready 
for the inevitable " row," 

It was not long coming ; the new arrivals set 
up the war-song, and Gidi Mavunga thought it 
time to make a demonstration. Drawing an old 
cutlass and bending almost double, he began to 
rush about, slashing and cutting down Imaginary 
foes, whilst his men looked to their guns. The 
greenhorn would have expected a regular stand- 
up fight, ending in half-a-dozen deaths, but the 
Papagayo snatched away his father's rusty blade, 
and Chico Furano, seizing the warrior's head, 
despite the mildest of resistance, bent it almost to 
the ground. Thus valour succumbed to numbers. 


The March to Banza Nkulu. 263 

" He is a great man," whispered my interpreter, 
" and if they chaunt their battle-song, he must show 
them his bravery." The truly characteristic scene 
ended in our being supplied with some fourteen 
black pots full of Resh, fowl, beans, and manioc, 
together with an abundance of plantains and sugar- 
cane ; a select dish was " put in fetish" {set 
aside) for Gidi Mavunga, and the friendly foes 
all sat down to feast. The querelU d'Allemand 
ended with a general but vain petition for " t'other 

Fahrenheit showed 90° in the shade, as we bade 
adieu to the little land-bay, and made for the high 
rugged wal! to the north-north-east separating 
the river valley from the inner country. On the 
summit we halted to enjoy the delicious sea-breeze 
with its ascending curve, and the delightful pros- 
pect far below. Some 1,300 feet beneath us ap- 
peared the Nzadi, narrowed to a torrent, and 
rushing violently down its highly inclined bed, a 
straight reach running east and west, in length 
from four and a half to five miles. As we fronted 
north, the Morro (cliff) Kala fell bluff towards its 
blue bight, the Mayumba Bay of the chart, on our 
left; to the right a black gate formed by twin 
cliffs shut out the upper stream from view. The 
panorama of hill-fold and projection, each bounded 
by deep green lines, which argued torrents during 
the rains ; the graceful slopes sinking towards the 


264 The March to Bama Nkulu. 

river and indenting the bed and the little tree- 
clad isle, Zun gichyi Idf (Tuckey's " Zunga Tooly 
Calavangoo ") hugging the northern side, where the 
Lufu torrent adds its tribute to the watera, con- 
vinced me that the charms of Congo scenery had 
not been exaggerated. Yet the prospect had its 
element of sadness ; the old rufHan, Gidi Mavunga, 
recounted how he had burned this place and 
broken that, where palm-clumps, grass-clearings, 
and plantations lying waste denoted the curse of 
Ham upon the land. 

Our course now wound north-eastwards along 
hill-shoulders, rich in flowery plants and scented 
mimosa. After two hours' walking, we came sud- 
denly upon the Morro or cliff of the river-trough, 
now about 1,000 feet deep. Here the prospect 
again shifted ; the black gate opened, showing the 
lowest of the long line of rapids called Borongwa 
i, with the natives and their canoes, like 
on bits of straw. 

the southern bank was a small perennial 
; lined with bright green above, and with 
te brown below, within some twenty yards 
louth. It arises, they say, near S. Salvador, 
not navigable, although in places it bears 
The people call it Npozo, possibly it re- 
s the S. Salvador River of old travellers, 
tance was three direct or five indirect miles 
f the stony cone, Zululu ke Sombe. 


The March to Bama Nkulu. 265 

The descent was a malevoie, over slabs and 
boulders, loose stones and clayey ground, slippery 
as ice after rain. The moleques descended like 
chamois within twenty minutes ; Selim and I, 
with booted feet, took double the time, but on 
return we ascended it in forty-five minutes. 
Viewed from below, the base rests upon cliffs of 
gneiss, with debris and quartz in masses, bands 
and pebbles, pure and impure, white and rusty. 
Upon it rises a stratum of ferruginous clay, with 
lai^e hard-heads of granite, gneiss, and schist, 
blocks of conglomerate, and nodules of iron- 
stone. Higher still is the bank of yellow clay, 
capped with shallow humus. The waving profile is 
backed by steep hills, with rocky sides and long 
ridges of ground, the site of the palm-hidden 

Reaching the base, a heap of tumbled boulders, 
we crossed in a canoe the mouth of the Npozo to 
a sandy cove in the southern bank, the terminus 
of river navigation. The people called it Unyenge 
Assiku : I cannot but suspect that this is the 
place where Tuckey left his boats, and which he 
terms " Nomaza Cove." The name is quite un- 
known, and suggests that the interpreters tried to 
explain by " No majia " (water) that here the voy- 
age must end. 

Off this baylet are three rocky islets, disposed 
in a triangle, slabs collected by a broken reef, and 


266 The March to Banza Nkulu. 

collectively known as Zunga Nuapozo; the clear- 
way is between them and the southern bank, 
which is partly provided with a backwater ; the 
northern three quarters of the bed show something 
like a scour and a rapid. Zunga chya Ingololo, 
the northernmost and smallest, bears a single tree, 
and projects a bar far into the stream : the 
central and westernmost is a rock with a canoe 
passage between it and the southern and largest, 
Zunga chya Tuvi. The latter has three tree- 
clumps ; and a patch of clean white sand on its 
western side measures the daily rise of the water, 
eight inches to a foot, and shows the highest level of 
the flood, here twelve to thirteen feet The fisher- 
men use it as a drying-ground for their game. They 
also crowd every day to two sandy covelets on 
the southern bank, separated by a tongue of rough 
boulders. Here naked urchins look on whilst 
their fathers work, or aid in drying the nets, or lie 
prone upon the sand, exposing their backs to the 
broiling sun. The other denizens of the place are 
fish-eagles, who sit en /action upon the topmost 
branches of withered trees. I saw only two kinds 
of fish, one small as a minnow, and the other ap- 
proaching the size of a herring. Up stream they 
are said to be much larger. They are not salted, 
but smoked or sun-dried when the weather serves : 
stuffed with chillies and fried with oil, they are good 
eating as the Kinnam of the Gold Coast. 


The March to Banza Nkulu. 267 

We prepared to bivouac under a fine shady 
SdffiS, or wild fig, a low, thick trunk whose dark 
foliage, fleshy as the lime-leaf, so often hangs its 
tresses over the river, and whose red berries may 
feed man as well as monkey. The yellow flowers 
of hypericum, blooming around us, made me 
gratefully savour our escape from mangrove and 
pandamus. About sunset a gende shower, the 
first of the season, caused the fisher-boys to dance 
with joy ; it lasted two good hours, and then it was 
dispersed by a strong westerly breeze. Canoes 
and lights flashed before our eyes during half the 
night ; and wild beasts, answering one another 
from rock to rock, hundreds of feet above us, 
added a savage, African feature to the goodly 

Arising early next morning, I was assured that 
it is necessary to cross the stream in order to 
reach the Cataracts. Tuckey did so, but further 
inquiry convinced me that it is a mistake to march 
along the northern bank. Of course, in skirting 
the southern side, we should not have approached 
so near the stream, where bluffs and debris ren- 
dered travelling hopeless. The amiable ichthyo- 
phagi agreed for two fathoms of fancy cloth to 
ferry us across the river, which is here half a mile 
broad. The six-knot current compels canoes to 
run up the left shore by means of its backwater, 
and, when crossing, to make allowance for the 


268 The March to Banza Nkulu. 

drift downwards. The aneroid now showed 860 
feet of absolute altitude, and about sixty-five feet 
above the landing-place of Banza Nokki ; the 
distance along the stream is fourteen miles, and 
thus the fall will be about five feet per mile below 
the Borongwa ya Vivi. We could see from a 
level the "smaller rapids of Vivi" bursting through 
their black gate with angry foam, flashing white 
from side to side No canoe could shoot this 
" Cachoeira," but I do not think that a Nile Da- 
habiyah or a Brazilian Aj6j6 would find great 
difficulty. Between us and the rapids, the con- 
cavity of the southern bank forms a bight or bay. 
The vortices, in which Tuckey's sloop was whirled 
round despite oars and sails, and in whose 
hollow the punt entirely disappeared, " so that 
the depression must have been three or four feet 
deep," were nowhere seen at this fuller season. 
The aspect of the surface is that of every lar|;e 
deep stream with broken bottom ; the water boils 
up in ever widening domes, as though a system of 
fountains sprang from below. Each centre is ap- 
parently higher than its circle ; it spreads as if a 
rock had been thrown into it, and the outer rim 
throws off little eddies and whirls no larger than a 
thimble. The mirrory surface of the lower river 
thus becomes mottled with light and shade, and- 
the reflected image of the trough-cliff is broken 
into the most fantastic shapes. 


The March to Bansa Nkulu. 269 

Fifteen minutes of hard paddling landed us at 
Selele, a stony point between two sandy baylets : 
amongst the mass of angular boulders a tree 
again showed the highest flood-mark to be 13 feet 
Here for the first time I remarked the black glaze 
concerning which so much has been written.* The 
colour is a sunburnt black, tinted ferruginous red 
like meteoric stones, and it is generally friable, 
crumbling under the nails. It tastes strongly of 
iron, which flavours almost every spring in the 
country, yet the most likely places do not show 
this incrustation. Sometimes it looks like a matrix 
in which pudding-stone has been imbedded; it 
may be two or three lines in thickness and it does 
not colour the inside. At other times it hardly 
measures the thickness of paper, coating the gneiss 
slabs like plumbago. Humboldt tells us {" Per- 
sonal Narrative," ii. 243, Bohn), that the " Indians" 
of the Atures declare the rocks to be burnt (car- 
bonized) by the sun's rays, and I have often found 
the same black glaze upon the marly sandstones 
that alternate with calcareous formations where 
no stream ever reached them — for instance, on 
the highlands of Judea, between Jerusalem and 
the Dead Sea; in inner Istria, and in most coun- 
tries upon the borders of the Mediterranean. 

' " Highlands of the Brazil," vol. iL chap. xv. The red 
clay of the Congo region is an exact copy of what is found on 
the opposite side of the Atlantic. 


270 The March to Bama Nkulu. 

Leaving Selele, we ascended a steep hill with 
many glissades, the effect of last night's rain. 
These hammock-journeys are mostly equivalent 
to walking and paying for carriage ; it would be 
Cruelty to animals were one to ride except when 
entering the villages. After threading for half an 
hour lanes of grass, we were received in a little 
village of the Banza Vivi district by Nessala, lin- 
guist^re to King Luvungungwete. The guest room 
was furnished with every luxury ; hides of a fine 
antelope described as the Kudu ; cruets, basins, 
bottles, and other vases; "lustre mugs," John 
Andersons and Toby Philpots. A good calabash, 
full of 

" Fresh'niog wine 

More bounteous far thao all the frantic juice 

Which Bacchus pours," 

was produced, although the drought and scarcity 
of June rain had dried the palms. Before 1 out- 
stretched myself, the fairer half of the population 
sent a message to say that they had never seen a 
white man : what less could be done than to dis- 
tribute a few beads and pat the children, who 
screamed like sucking pigs and " squirmed " like 
young monkeys ? 

The Chrononhotonthologus of a king came in 
the afternoon with a tail of a hundred vertebrse : he 
was a milder specimen than usual ; he had neither 
Mambrino's helmet nor beadle's cloak, and perhaps 


The. March to Banza Nkulu. 271 

his bashfulness in the presence of stxangers arose 
from a consciousness that his head-gear and robes 
were not in keeping with his station. But he did not 
fail to grumble at his "dash ;" indeed, he must be 
more than African who shall say, " Hold ! enough." 
He vouchsafed a small return in fowls and " bene- 
ficent manioc," and sent with us three slaves, to 
serve, not as guides, but as a basis for a separate 

After sunset all was made ready for the Ba- 
tuque. The ball-room was the village square; the 
decorations were the dense trees ; the orchestra 
consisted of two drums, a grande caisse eight feet 
and a half long, placed horizontally, and a 
smaller specimen standing on a foot like that of 
an old-fashioned champagne-glass ; the broader 
ends were covered with deer skins, upon which 
both hands perform ; and the illuminations were 
flaming heaps of straw, which, when exhausted, 
were replaced by ground-nuts spitted upon a 
bamboo splint. This contrivance is far simpler 
than a dip-candle, the arachis is broken off as 
it chars, and, when the lamp dims, turning it 
upside down causes a fresh flow of oil. The 
ruder sex occupied one half of the ring, and the 
rest was appropriated to dame and damsel. The 
Batuque is said to be the original Cachucha ; Bar- 
bot calls it a danse des filoux, and it has the merit 
of perfectly expressing, as Captain Cook's com- 


272 The March to Banza Nkulu. 

panions remarked of the performances in the South 
Sea Islands, what it means. 

The hero of the night was Chico Mpamba ; he 
must have caused a jealous pang to shoot through 
many a masculine bosom. With bending waist, arms 
gracefully extended forwards, and fingers snapping 
louder than castanets ; with the upper half of the 
body fixed as to a stake, and with the lower con- 
vulsive as a scotched snake, he advanced and retired 
by a complicated shuffle, keeping time with the tom- 
tom and jingling his brass anklets, which weighed 
at least three pounds, and which, by the by, lamed 
him for several days. But he was heroic as the 
singer who broke his collar-bone by the ut dipdto. 
A peculiar accompaniment was a dulcet whistle 
with lips protruded ; hence probably the fable of 
Pliny's Astomoi, and the Africans of Eudoxus, 
whose joined lips compelled them to eat a single 
grain at a time, and to drink through a cane before 
sherry-cobblers were known. Others joined him, 
dancing either vis-A-vis or by his side ; and more 
than one girl, who could no longer endure being a 
wall-flower, glided into the ring and was received 
with a roar of applause. In the feminine perform- 
ance the eyes are timidly bent upon the ground ; 
the steps are shorter and daintier, and the ritrosa 
appears at once to shun and to entice her cavalier, 
who, thus repulsed and attracted, redoubles the 
exciting measure till the delight of the spectators 


The March to Bansa Nkulu. 273 

knows no bounds. Old Gidi Mavunga flings off 
his upper garment, and with the fire of a youth of 
twenty enters the circle, where his performance is 
looked upon with respect, if not with admiration. 
Wilder and wilder waxeth the " Devil's delight," 
till even the bystanders, especially the women, 
though they keep their places in the outer circle, 
cannot restrain that wonderful movement of haunch 
and flank. I laughed till midnight, and left the 
dancers dancing still. 

At 5 A.M. the strayed revellers found to their 
■ disgust a thick fog, or rather a thin drizzle, damp- 
ing grass and path, and suggesting anything but a 
pleasant trudge. They declared that starvation 
awaited us, as the " fancy cloths " were at an end, 
but I stopped that objection by a reference to the 
reserved fund. After an hour of sulky talk we set 
out towards the upper part of Banza Vivi, passing 
a small but pretty hill plain, with manioc-fields, 
gum-trees, and the bombax very symmetrical. 
We saw no animals : here and there appeared 
the trail of a hyzena, the only larger carnivor that 
now haunts the mountains. The song of Mkuka 
Mpela, the wild pigeon, and Fungii, the cuckoo, 
were loud in the brake ; the Abbd Proyart makes 
the male cuculus chant his coo, coo, coo ; mount- 
ing one note above another with as much precision 
as a musician would sound his ut, re, ml : when he 
reached the third note, his mate takes it up and 


274 Tke March to Battsa Nkulu. 

ascends to the octave. After this both recom- 
mence the same song. 

The stiff ascent gave us lovely views of the 
lake-like river and both its banks : after three 
quarters of an hour we reached Vivi of Banza 
Simbo. The people vainly called to us, " Wiza !" — 
" Come thou ! " and " Luiza ! luiza kwenu ! " — 
"Come, come here!" Our molequ^s, disliking 
the dangerous proximity, advanced at a walk 
which might be called a canter. 

Presently we reached the dividing ridge, 1,394 
feet high, between Banza Vivi and Nkulu, whose 
palm-trees, thrown out against the sky, bore 82° 
(M.) Looking to the north with easting, we 
had a view of no less than six distinct distances. 
The actual foreground, a hollow between two 
land-waves, could not conceal the " Crocodile's 
Head:" the latter, five miles off and bearing 65° 
(M.), forms the southern staple of the Yellala 
Gate, whose rapids were not visible, and it fronts 
the Quoin, which hems in the stream on the other 
side. The key-stone of the Inverted arch between 
them was a yellow-flanked, tree-topped hill, rising 
immediately above the great rapids : beyond it 
waved, in far succession, three several swells of 
ground, each flatter and bluer than its nearer 
neighbour, and capping the whole stood Kongo 
de Lemba. a tall solitary sugarloaf, bearing 75° 
(M.), with its outlying conelets concealing like a 
mass of smoke the world that lay beyond. 


The March to Banza Nkulti. 275 

The ridges appeared to trend north and south, 
and to approach the river's bending bed at different 
angles ; their sides were steep, and in places scarped 
where they fell into the intervening hollows. The 
valleys conducted many a water to the main drain, 
and during the wet season they must be well-nigh 
impassable. At the end of the dries the only green 
is in the hill-folds and the basin-sinks, where the 
trees muster strong enough to defend themselves 
from the destructive annual fires. These bush- 
burnings have effectually disforested the land, and 
in some places building timber and even fuel have 
become scarce. In the Abrus, barely two feet 
high, I could hardly recognize the tall tree of 
Eastern Africa, except by its scarlet " carats," which 
here the people disdain to use as beads. The 
scorching of the leaves stunts the shrubs, thickens 
the bark, and makes the growth scrubby, so that 
the labourer has nothing to do but to clear away 
the grass : I afterwards remarked the same effects 
on the Brazilian Campos. 

We descended the dividing ridge, which is also 
painfully steep, especially near the foot, and crossed 
the rolling hollow with its three chalybeate brooks, 
beyond which lay our destination. Tuckey de- 
scribes the hills between Bomaand Nkulu as stony 
and barren, which is perhaps a little too strong. 
The dark red clay soil, dried almost to the con- 
sistency of laterite, cannot be loosened by rain or 
sun, and in places it is hardened like that of 


276 The March to Danza Nkulu. 

Brazilian Porto Seguro, where the people complain 
that they cannot bury their dead. All the uplands, 
however, grow grass which is sometimes ten to 
twelve feet tall, and in places there are shrubs and 
trees. About Nkulu the highlands are rightly de- 
scribed as " steep hills of quartz, ferruginous earth, 
and syenite with fertile tops :" rocks and stones are 
rare upon the plateaux ; they are rich enough to 
produce everything from wheat to coffee, and 
hardly a hundredth part is cultivated. Thin and 
almost transparent lines of palms denote the several 
Banzas on the ridges, and in the valley are rock 
circles like magnified and prostrated Stonehenges. 
The " termes arborum" is universal, and ant- 
hills form a prominent feature. It has been re- 
marked that these buildings are the most conspi- 
cuous architectural efforts of the country, and the 
Abbe Proyart observes that here more effectually 
than in any other land man ought to be sent to the 
ant school. The material is ofdark and sometimes 
black earth as in the Gaboon, and the shape is the 
umbrella, rarely double or pagoda-roofed. The 
column may be twelve to eighteen inches high, and 
the diameter of the capital attains two feet : I 
never saw, however, a " gigantic toadstool as high 
as a one-storied house."* Nor are the mushroom 
tops now used as chafing-dishes. 

' " Journal of an African Cruiser," by an Officer of the 
United States Navy, p. 173. London, 1848. Tuckey(" Nar- 
rative," 132) gives 1- sketch of the building. 


The March to Danza Nkulu. 277 

The grateful tamarind grows everywhere, but no- 
where so gloriously as on the lower elevations. The 
only true sycomores which I saw were stunted speci- 
mens near the Yellala. They contrasted poorly 
with the growth of the Ugogi Dhun, a noble pa- 
triarch, whose circle of shade under a vertical sun 
was 500 feet, and which I thought worthy of a por- 
trait in " Lake Regions of Central Africa " (p. 195, 
v6l. i.). I need hardly warn the reader that, pro- 
perly speaking, it is the " Sycamine which produces 
the fruit called Sycontorus or fig-mulberry ;" but we 
apply the term "Sycomore" to the tree as well 
as to its fruit. 

After three hours of actual marching (= seven 
miles) in an east-north-easterly direction, we as- 
cended a path greasy with drizzle, parquetted by 
negro feet and infested with " drivers," which now 
became troublesome. It led to Banza Nkulu, a 
shabby settlement of unclean plantations and 
ragged huts of far inferior construction : stacks of 
grass were piled upon the ground, and this new 
thatch was gready wanted. Here the lands of the 
"bush-men" begin: instead of marching directly 
to the chiefs house, we sat in our wet clothes 
under a friendly wild fig. The women flocked 
out at the cry of the ham mock- bearers and, nursing 
their babies, sat down to the enjoyment of a 
stare ; they had lost, however, the merriment of 
their more civilized sisters, and they hardly ever 
vouchsafed a laugh or a smile. The curiosity of 


278 The March to Banza Nkulu. 

the "Zinkomba" knew no bounds; all were un- 
usually agitated by the aspect of a man coloured 
like themselves ; they jerked out their leafy 
crinolines by forward movements of the lower 
body, swayed violently from side to side, and cried 
" Ha-rr-rr-rr-rr !'' and " Jojolo ! jojolo I '' till they 
were hoarse. As usual, the adults would not allow 
me to approach them, and I was obliged to rest con- 
tented with sketching their absurdities. To punish 
this daring, the Jinkomba brought a man masked 
like a white, with beard and whiskers, who is sup- 
posed to strike the stranger with awe : it was all 
in vain, I had learned to trill the R as roundly as 
themselves, and they presently left me as a " per- 
dido," an incorrigible. 

In the days of the Expedition, Nkulu had but 
one ruler, of whom Tuckey says (p. 148), that he 
found less pomp and noise, but much more civility 
and hospitality than from the richer kings he had 
visited. Now there are three who require their 
" dashes," and each has his linguister, who must 
not be passed by without notice. Moreover, as 
population and luxury have increased on the line 
of route, bark -cloth has disappeared and even the 
slaves are dressed in cottons. We waited, pa- 
tiently hungry, till 4 p.m. because the interpreters 
had gone on some " fish palaver " to the river. At 
that hour a procession of some two hundred and 
fiftv men headed by a drum and Chingufu (cymbal- 


The March to B ansa Nkulu. 279 

bells) defiled before us, crowding round three 
umbrellas, trade-articles in the last stage of " seedi- 
ness." These comforts protected from the sun, 
which was deep hid behind a purple nimbus, an 
equal number of great men in absurd red night- 
caps or old felt wideawakes, shirts of coloured 
cotton, and second-hand waistcoats of silk or satin. 

The only signs of luxury were here and there a 
well-carved ebony stick, and a gunstock resplen-' 
dent with brass tacks. All sat down in a semi- 
circle before us, six or seven deep in front and 
four or five at the sides : the women and children 
took their places in the rear, and one of them 
fondled a prick-eared cur with an attempt at a 
ribbon round its neck. 


28o The March to Banza Nkulu. 

The head linguister, who, like " Persian inter- 
preters" to commanders in chief of India during 
my day, could not speak a word of any language 
but his own, after clapping hands, congratulated us 
in the name of the great king Nekulu ; he lives, 
it appears, in a Banza at some distance to the 
north or north-east, out of sight of the river, and 
he cannot be visited without great outlay of gun- 
powder and strong waters. We returned compli- 
ments, and after the usual complications we came 
to the main point, the "dash." I had privily kept 
a piece' of satin-stripe, and this was produced as 
the very last of our viaticum. The interpreter, 
having been assured that we had nothing else to 
give, retired with his posse to debate ; whilst we 
derided the wild manners of these "bush-folk," 
who feared to shake hands with us. After an 
hour or so the council returned, clapped palms, 
sat down, grumbled at the gift and gave formal 
leave to see the Yellala — how the word now 
jarred in my ears after its abominable repetition ! 
Had these men been told a month before that a 
white would have paid for permission to visit what 
they considered common property, they would 
have refused belief; with characteristic readiness, 
however, the moment they saw an opportunity of 
"making money," they treated the novelty as a 
matter of course. 

This palaver settled, the chiefs danced within a 




The March to Bansa Nkulu. 281 

ring formed by their retainers ; the speeches were 
all sung, not spoken ; and obeisances and dustings 
of elaborate complexity concluded the eventful 
meeting, which broke up as it began with drum 
and Chingufu. There was not a symptom of hos- 
pitality ; we had preserved some provaunt from our 
last station, or we should have been famished. My 
escort forgot their disappointments in a " ball," 
which lasted through the cool, clear and dewy 
night till nearly dawn. It is evidently a happy 
temperament which can dance off hunger and 




3T dawn (September i6}, I began the 
short march leading to the Yellala.' By 
stepping a few paces south of Nkulu. 
we had a fine view of the Borongwa ya 
Vivi, the lowest rapids, whose foaming slope con- 
trasted well with the broad, smooth basin beyond. 
Palabala, the village of Nekorado on the other 
side of the stream, bore south '(Mag.), still serving 
as a landmark ; and in this direction the ridges 
were crowned with palm orchards and settlements. 
But the great Yellala was hidden by the hill- 

We at once fell into a descent of some 890 feet, 
which occupied an hour. The ground was red 
iron-clay, greasy and slippery ; dew-dripping grass, 
twelve to fifteen feet tall, lined the path ; the sur- 
face was studded with dark ant-hills of the mush- 

' See frontisjiiece. 


The Yellala of the Congo. 2S3 

room shape ; short sycomores appeared, and pre- 
sently we came to rough gradients of stone, which 
severely tried the "jarrets." After an hour, we 
crossed at the trough-foot a brook of pure water, 
which, uniting with two others, turns to the north- 
east, and, tumbling over a Httle ledge, discharges 
itself into the main drain. An ascent then led 
over a rounded hill with level summit, and preci- 
pitous face all steps and drops of rock, some of 
them six and seven feet high, opposed to the 
stream. Another half hour, and a descent of 127 
feet placed us under a stunted calabash, 100 feet 
above the water, and commanding a full view of 
the Yellala. 

On the whole, the impression was favourable. 
Old Shimbah, the Linguister at Forto da Lenha, 
and other natives had assured me that the Cata- 
racts were taller than the tallest trees. On the 
other hand, the plain and unadorned narrative of 
the " Expedition " had prepared me for a second- 
rate stream bubbling over a strong bed. The river 
here sweeps round from the north-west, and bends 
with a sharp elbow first to the south-west and 
then to the south-east, the length of the latter 
reach being between four and five miles. As far 
as the eye can see, the bed, which narrows from 
900 to 400 and 500 yards, is broken by rocks and 
reefs. A gate at the upper end pours over its 
lintel a clear but dwarf fall, perhaps two feet high. 


284 Tlte Ycllala of the Congo. 

The eastern staple rises at first sheer from the 
water's edge to the estimated altitude of a thou- 
sand feet, — this is the "Crocodile's Head" which 
we saw on the last march, and already the thin 
rains are robing its rocky surface with tender 
green. The strata are disposed at angles, varying 
from 35° to 45°, and three streaks of bright trees 
denote Fiumaras about to be filled. Opposite it 
is the " Quoin Hill," bluff to the stream, and fall- 
ing west with gradual incline. The noise of this 
higher fall can hardly be heard at Nkulu, except 
on the stillest nights. 

Below the upper gate, the bed, now narrowing 
to 300 yards, shows the great Yellala ; the waters, 
after breaking into waves for a mile and a half 
above, rush down an inclined plane of some thirty 
feet in 300 yards, spuming, colliding and throwing 
up foam, which looks dingy white against the dull 
yellow-brown of the less disturbed channel — the 
movement is that of waves dashing upon a pier. 
The bed is broken by the Zunga chya Malemba, 
which some pronounced Sanga chya Malemba, 
an oval islet in mid-stream, whose greater diameter 
is disposed along the axis of the bed. The north- 
western apex, raised about fifty feet above the pre- 
sent level of the waters, shows a little bay of pure 
sand, the detritus of its rocks, with a flood-mark 
fifteen feet high, whilst the opposite,side bears a 
few wind-wrung trees. The materials are gneiss 


The Yellala of the Congo. 285 

and schist, banded with quartz — Tuckey's great 
masses of slate. This is the " Terrapin " of the 
Nzadi. The eastern fork, about 150 yards broad, 
is a mountain- torrent, coursing unobstructed down 
its sandy trough, and, viewed from an eminence, 
the waters of the mid-channel appear convex, a 
shallow section of a cylinder, — it is a familiar 
shape well marked upon the St Lawrence Rapids. 
The western half is traversed by a reef, connect- 
ing the islets with the right bank. During August, 
this branch was found almost dry; in mid-Septem- 
ber, it was nearly full, and here the water breaks 
with the greatest violence. The right bank is 
subtended for some hundred yards by blocks of 
granite and greenstone, pitted with large basins 
and pot-holes, delicately rounded, turned as with 
a lathe by the turbid waters. The people declare 
that this greenstone contains copper, and Pro- 
fessor Smith found particles in his specimens. 
The Portuguese agents, to whom the natives care- 
fully submit everything curious, doubt the fact, as 
well as all reports of gold ; yet there is no reason 
why the latter should not be found. 

The current whirls and winds through its tor- 
tuous channels, which are like castings of metal, in 
many distinct flows ; some places are almost stag- 
nant, suggesting passages for canoes. Here the 
fishermen have planted their weirs ; some are 
wading in the pools, others are drying their nets 


286 The Yellala of the Congo. 

upon the stony ledges. During the floods, how- 
ever, this cheval-de-frise of boulders must all be 
under water, and probably impassable. Tuckey 
supposes that the inundation must produce a. spec- 
tacle which justifies the high-flown description of 
the people. I should imagine the reverse to be 
the case ; and Dr. Livingstone justly remarked ' 
that, when the river was full, the Yellala rapids 
would become comparatively smooth, as he had 
found those of the Zambeze ; and that there- 
fore a voyage pittoresque up the Congo should be 
made at that season. 

Before leaving the Yellala, I wandered along the 
right bank, and found a cliff, whose overhanging 
brow formed a fine cavern ; it remarkably resem- 
bled the Martianez Fountain under the rock near 
the beautiful Puerto de Orotava. Here the fisher- 
men were disporting themselves, and cooking their 
game, which tliey willingly exchanged for beads. 
All were of the Silurus family, varying from a few 
inches to two feet. Fish-eagles sat upon the 
ledges overhanging the stream, and a flight of 
large cranes wheeled majestically in the upper 
air : according to the people, they are always to 
be seen at the Yellalas, 

The extent of a few hundred feet afforded a 

' At the memorable Bath meeting of the British Associa- 
tion, Sept. 1864. 


The Yellala of tke Congo. 287 

good bird's eye view of the scene. The old river- 
valley, shown by the scarp of the rocks, must have 
presented gigantic features, and the height of the 
trough-walls, at least a thousand feet, gives the 
Yellala a certain beauty and grandeur. The site 
is apparently the highest axis of the dividing ridge 
separating the maritime lowlands from the inner 
plateau. Looking eastward the land smoothens, 
the dorsa fall more gently towards the counter- 
slope, and there are none of the "Morros" which 
we have traversed. 

With the members of the Congo Expedition, I 
was somewhat starded by the contrast between the 
apparendy shrunken volume of waters and the vast 
breadth of the lower river ; hence Professor 
Smith's theory of underground caverns and com- 
munications, in fact of a subterraneous river, a 
favourite hobby in those days. But there is not 
a trace of limestone formation around, nor is there 
the hollow echo which inevitably would result from 
such a tunnel. Evidently the difference is to be 
accounted for by the rapidity of the torrent, the 
effect of abnormal slope deceiving the eye. At 
the Most-wa-tunya Falls the gigantic Zambeze, 
from a breadth of a thousand yards suddenly 
plunges into a trough only forty-five to sixty feet 
wide : the same is the case with the Brazilian 
Sao Francisco, which, a mile wide above the 
Cachoeira de Paulo Affonso, is choked to a 


288 The Yellala of tlie Congo. 

minimum breadth of fifty-one feet. At the Pongo 
(narrows) de Manseriche also, the Amazonas, 
" already a noble river, is contracted at its nar- 
rowest part to a width of only twenty-five toises, 
bounded on each margin by lofty perpendicular 
cliffs, at the end of which the Andes are fairlypassed, 
and the river emerges on the great plain."' Thus 
the Yellala belongs to the class of obstructed rapids 
like those of the Nile, compared with the unob- 
structed, of which a fine specimen is the St. La\v- 
rence. It reminded me strongly of the Busa 
(Boussa) described by Richard Lander, where the 
breadth of the Niger is reduced to a stone-throw, 
and the stream is broken by black rugged rocks 
arising from mid-channel. It is probably a less 
marked feature than the Congo, for in June, after 
the " Malka " or fourteen days of incessant rain, 
the author speaks of whirlpools, not of a regular 

I thus make the distance of the Yellala from 
the mouth between 1 16 and 1 1 7 miles and the total 
fall 390 feet, of which about one half (195) occurs 
in the sixty-four miles between Boma and the 
Yellala: of this figure again 100 feet belongto the 
section of five miles between the Vivi and the Great 
Rapids. The Zambeze, according to Dr. Living- 

' Mr. Richard Spnice, "Ocean Highways," August, 1873, 


The Yellala of the Congo. 289 

stone (" First Expedition," p. 284), has a steeper 
declivity than some other great rivers, reaching 
even 7 inches per mile. With 3 to 4 inches, the 
Ganges, the Amazonas, and the Mississippi flow at 
the rate of three knots an hour in the lowest season 
and five or six during the flood : what, then, niay 
be expected from the Nzadi ? 

According to the people, beyond the small upper 
fall where projections shut out the view, the 
channel smoothens for a short space and carries 
canoes. Native travellers from Nkulu usually 
take the mountain-path cutting across an easterly 
bend of the bed to Banza Menzi, the Manzy of 
Tuckey's text and the Menzi Macooloo of his map. 
It is situated on a level platform 9 miles north of 
Nkulu, and they find the stream still violent. The 
second march is to Banza Ninga, by the First 
Expedition called " Inga," an indirect line of 
five hours = 1 5 miles. The third, of about the 
same distance, makes Banza Mavunda where, 20 
to 24 miles above the Yellala, Tuckey found the 
river once more navigable, clear in the middle and 
flowing at the rate of two miles an hour — a retar- 
dation evidently caused by the rapids beyond : 
I have remarked this effect in the Brazilian 
"Cachoeiras."' Above it the Nzadi widens, and 
canoeing is practicable with portages at the two 

^ " Lowlands of the Brazil," chap. xvii. Tinsleys, 1875. 


290 The Yellala of ike Congo. 

Sangallas. The southern feature, double like the 
Yellala, shows an upper and a lower break, sepa- 
rated by two miles, the rapids being formed as 
iisual by sunken ledges of rock. . Two days' 
paddling lead to the northern or highest Sangalla, 
which obstructs the stream for 22 miles : Tuckey 
(p. 184) makes his Songo Sangalla contain three 
rapids ; Prof. Smith, whose topography is painfully 
vague, doubles the number, at the same time he 
makes Sanga Jalala (p. 327) the "uppermost fall 
but one and the highest" Finally, at Nsundi (on 
the map Soondy N'sanga), which was reached on 
Sept 9, a picturesque sandy cove at the opening of a 
creek behind a long projecting point begins a lake- 
like river, three miles broad, with fine open country 
on both banks : the explorer describes it as 
" beautiful scenery equal to anything on the banks 
of the Thames." 

Here the Nzadi is bounded by low limestone 
hills already showing the alluvial basin of Central 
Africa ; and the land is well populated, because cal- 
careous districts are fertile in the tropics and pro- 
visions are plentiful. Prof. Smith (p. 336) was "so 
much enraptured with the improved appearance of 
the country and the magnificence of the river, that 
it was with the greatest difficulty he was prevailed 
on to return." Of course, the coaster middle-men 
report the people to be cannibals. 

From the Vivi Rapids to Nsundi along the 


The Yellala of the Congo. 291 

windings of the bed is a total of 115 miles, about 
the distance of Vivi to the sea; the direct land 
march was 75 miles. Captain Tuckey heard 
nothing of the Lumini River entering 43 leagues 
above the Yellala, and he gives no professional 
opinion touching the navigability of the total of 
six greater rapids which, to judge from what I saw, 
can hardly offer any serious obstruction to the de- 
velopment of the Nzadi. 

At Nkulu an intelligent native traveller whom 
I examined through the interpreters, strongly ad- 
vised the line of the southern bank : five stages 
would lead to Nsundi, and the ten " kings " on the 
road are not such " rapacious gentlemen " as our 
present hosts. A glance at Tuckey's map shows 
that this southern line cuts across a long westerly 
deflection of the bed. 

I had been warned when setting out that a 
shipful of goods would not take me past Nkulu. 
This was soon confirmed. On the evening after 
arrival I had directed my interpreter to sound the 
"bush-kings" touching the expense of a march 
to Nsundi. They modestly demanded 100 lbs. 
of beads, fifty kegs of powder, forty demijohns 
of rum, twelve uniforms, ten burnuses, a few 
swords, and 200 whole pieces of various expen- 
sive cloths, such as Costa Finas, Riscados, and 
satin stripes, — briefly, about ;^300 for three days' 
march. It suggested the modest demand made 


292 The Yellala of the Congo. 

by King Adooley of Badagry, from the brothers 

The air of Nkulu was a cordial ; the aspect of 
the land suggested that it is the threshold to a 
country singularly fertile and delicious, in fact, the 
paradise which Bishop Berkeley (Gaudendo di 
Lucca) placed in Central Africa. The heat of the 
lowlands had disappeared, — 

" The scorching ray 
Here pierceth nol, impregnate with disease." 

The thermometer, it is true, did not sink below 
67° (F.), whilstthe " Expedition" (p. 118) had found 
it 60° in August, even at Boma during the dewy 
nights. The lowest temperature of the water was 
75°, and the highest 79°, whereas at the mouth it 
is sometimes 83°; Tuckey gives 'jf>°-Tj° '• 74" in 
the upper river above the Falls, and 73" where 
there are limestone springs. The oxydization of 
iron suddenly ceased ; after a single day's drying, 
the plants were ready for a journey to England, 
and meat which will hardly keep one day in the 
lowlands is here eatable on the fifth. 

Whilst the important subject of " dash " was 
being discussed I set out in my hammock to visit 
a quitanda or market held hard by. As we 
started, the women sang, 

" Lungwi u telemene ko Mwanza 
Ko Yellala o kwenda." 


The Yellala of the Congo. 293 

"The boat that arrives at the Mwanza {the 
River) the same shall go up to the Yellala" 
(rapids). It is part of a chant which the mothers 
of men now old taught them in childhood, and the 
sole reminiscence of the Congo Expedition, whose 
double boats, the Aj6j6s of the Brazil, struck their 
rude minds half a century ago. 

These quitandas are attended by people living 
a dozen miles off, and they give names to the days, 
which consequently everywhere vary. Thus at 
Boma Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are 
respectively called " Nkenge," " Sona," " Kandu," 
and " Konzo." This style of dividing time, which 
is common throughout Pagan West Africa, is 
commonly styled a week : thus the Abb6 
Proyart tells us that the Loango week consists of 
four days, and that on the fourth the men " rest" 
by hunting and going to market. Tuckey also re- 
cognizes the " week of four days," opposed to the 
seven days' week of the Gold Coast. 

After half an hour's run to the north-west my 
bearers, raising loud shouts of" Alii ! vaisempre!" 
dashed into the market-place where about a hun- 
dred souls were assembled. The women rose in 
terror from their baskets and piles of vendibles ; 
some began hastily to pack up, others threw them- 
selves into the bush. Order was soon restored by 
the interpreter ; both sexes and all ages crowded 
round me with hootings of wonder, and, when 


294 The Yellala of the Congo. 

they had stared their fill, allowed me to sit down 
under a kind of ficus, not unlike the banyan- 
tree {Ficus Indica). Tuckey (p. i8i) says that 
this fig is planted in all market-places and is con- 
sidered sacred; his people got into trouble by 
piling their muskets against one of them : I heard 
of nothing of the kind. The scanty supplies — a 
few fowls, sun-dried fish, kola-nuts, beans, and red 
peppers — were spread upon skins, or stored in 
well-worked baskets, an art carried to perfection 
in Africa ; even the Somali Bedawin weave pots 
that will hold water. The small change was re- 
presented by a medium which even Montesquieu 
would not set down as a certain mark of civiliza- 
tion. The horse-shoe of Loggun (Denham and 
Clapperton), the Fi« Beam, the " small piece of 
iron like an ace of spades on the upper Nile" 
(Baker), and the iron money of the brachycephalic 
Nyam-nyams described and drawn by Schwein- 
furth (i. 279), here becomes a triangle or demi- 
square of bast-cloth, about 5 inches of max. 
length, fringed, coloured like a torchon after a 
month of kitchen use, and worth one-twentteth of 
the dollar or fathom of cloth. These money-mats 
or coin-clouts are known to old travellers as 
uitas and Libonges (in Angolan Libangos). 
i and Merolla make them equivalent to brass 
ey ; the former were grass-cloth a yard long, 
ten = looreis; in 1694 they were changed 


The Ydlala of the Congo. 295 

at Angola for a small copper coin worth 2\d., and 
the change caused a disturbance for which five 
soldiers were shot Silver was represented by 
" Intagas," thick cottons the size of two large ker- 
chiefs {= \s. bd.) and " Folingas," finer sorts used 
for waist-cloths {= 3^. dd.) ; and gold by Beirames 
{alii Biramis): Carli says the latter are coarse 
Indian cottons 5 ells long and each = 200 reis ; 
others describe them as fine linen each piece worth 
75. 6f/. to Ss. The bank-note was the " Indian 
piece or Mulech, a young black about twenty 
years of age, worth 20 Mil Reys (dollars) each." 
(Carli.) In the Barbots' day each "coin-clout") 
was equivalent to 2d. ; some were unmarked, whilst 
others bore the Portuguese arms single or double. 
The wilder Kni-men still keep up their " buya- 
part" (= 25 cents), a cloth 4 inches square and 
thickly sewn over with cowries. 

The only liquor was palm wine in huge cala- 
bashes. The smoking of Lyamba (Bhang or 
Cannabis saliva) seems to become more common 
as we advance. I did not find the plant growing, 
as did Dr. Livingstone at Linyanti and amongst 
the Batoka (" First Expedition," 198, 541). The 
pipe is the gourd of a baobab, which here some- 
times grows a foot and a half long ; It is cleared, 
filled with water and provided with a wooden tube 
iixed in the upper part away from the mouth, and 
supporting a small " chillam" or bowl of badly 


2g6 The Yellala of the Congo, 

baked clay. The people when smoking affect the 
bunched shoulders, the deep inhalation, and the 
loud and body-shaking bark, which seems inse- 
parable from the enjoyment of this stimulant. I 
have used it for months together, and my conclu- 
sion is, that mostly the cough is an affectation. 
Tobacco is smoked in the usual heavy clay pipes, 
with long mouthpieces of soft wood, quite as 
civilized as the best European, " Progress" seems 
unknown to the pipe ; the most advanced nations 
are somewhat behind the barbarians, and in the 
matter of snuff the Tupi or Brazilian savage has 
never been rivalled. 

The greater part of the vendors seemed to be 
women, of the buyers men ; there was more dif- 
ference of appearance than in any European fair, 
and the population about Nkulu seemed to be a 
very mixed race. Some were ultra-negro, of the 
dead dull-black type, prognathous and long- 
headed like apes ; others were of the red variety, 
with hair and eyes of a brownish tinge, and a few 
had features which if whitewashed could hardly be 
distinguished from Europeans. The tattoo was 
remarkable as amongst the tribes of the lower 
Zambeze.' There were waistcoats, epaulettes, 
braces and cross-belts of huge welts, and raised 

' " Journal of the Royal Geographical Society," vol, iii. p. 
206, 1833. 


The Yellala of the Congo, 297 

polished lumps which must have cost not a little 
suffering; the skin is pinched up between the 
fingers and sawn across with a bluntish knife, the 
deeper the better; various plants are used as 
styptics, and the proper size of the cicatrice is 
maintained by constant pressure, which makes the 
flesh protrude from the wound. The teeth were 
as barbarously mutilated as the skin ; these had 
all the incisors sharp-tipped ; those chipped a 
chevron-shaped hole in the two upper or lower 
frontals, and not a few seemed to attempt con- 
verting the whole denture into molars. The legs 
were undeniably fine ; even Hieland Mary's would 
hardly be admired here. Whilst the brown 
mothers smoked and carried their babies, the men 
bore guns adorned with brass tacks, or leaned 
upon their short, straight, conical " spuds" and 
hoes, long-handled bits of iron whose points, after 
African fashion, passed through the wood. I no- 
where saw the handsome carved spoons, the hafts 
and knife-sheaths figured by the Congo Expe- 

We left the quitanda with the same shouting 
and rushing which accompanied my appearance. 




9N the evening there was a palaver. 

I need hardly say that my guide, 
after being paid to show me Nsundi, 
never had the slightest intention to go 
beyond the Yellala. Irritated by sleeping in the 
open air, and by the total want of hospitality 
amongst the bushmen, he and his moleques had sat 
apart all day, the picture of stubborn discontent, and 
" Not a man in the place 
But had discontent written large in his ^ce." 

I proposed to send back a party for mm, powder, 
and cloth to the extent of ^150, or half the de- 
mand, and my factotum, Selim, behaved like a 
trump. Gidi Mavunga, quite beyond self-control, 
sprang up, and declared that, if the Mundele would 
not follow him, that obstinate person might remain 
behind. The normal official deprecation, as usual, 
made him the more headstrong ; he rushed off and 


Return to the Congo Moutk. 299 

disappeared in the bush, followed by a part of his 
slaves, the others crying aloud t&him, " Wenda !" — 
get out ! Seeing that the three Hnguisters did not 
move, he presently returned, and after a furious 
address in Fiote began a Portuguese tirade for my 
benefit. This white man had come to their 
country, and, instead of buying captives, was bent 
upon enslaving their Mfumos ; but that " Branco" 
should suffer for his attempt ; no " Mukanda" or 
book (that is, letter) should go down stream ; all 
his goods belonged of right to his guide, and thus 
he would learn to sit upon the heads of the 
noblesse, with much of the same kind. 

There are times when the traveller either rises 
above or sinks to the level of, or rather below, his 
party. I had been sitting abstractedly, like the great 
quietist, Buddha, when the looks of the assembly 
suggested an " address." This was at once de- 
livered in Portuguese, with a loud and angry voice. 
Gidi Mavunga, who had been paid for Nsundi, 
not for the Yellala, had spoken like a " small boy" 
(;.£., a chattel). I had no wish to sit upon other 
men's heads, but no man should sit on mine. 
Englishmen did not want slaves, nor would they 
allow others to want them, but they would not be 
made slaves themselves. My goods were my own, 
and King Nessala, not to speak of Mambuco Prata 
— the name told — had made themselves responsible 
for me. Lastiy, if the Senhor Gidi Mafung 


300 Return to the Congo Moutk. 

wanted to quarrel, the contents of a Colt's six- 
shooter were at his disposal. 

Such a tone would have made a European 
furious ; it had a contrary effect upon the African. 
Gidi Mavunga advanced from his mat, and taking 
my hand placed it upon his head, declaring me 
his " Mwenemputo." The linguisters then en- 
tered the circle, chanted sundry speeches, made 
little dances, then bent their knuckles to earth, 
much in the position of boys preparing to jump 
over their own joined hands, dusted themselves, 
and clapped palms. Very opportunely arrived a 
present from the king of fowls, dried fish and 
plantains, which restored joy to the camp. " Mwen- 
emputo," I must explain, primarily meaning " the 
King of Portugal," is applied in East Central 
Africa to a negro king and chiefs (" The Lands 
of the Cazembe," p. 1 7). In Loango also it is the 
name of a high native official, and, when used as 
in the text, it is equivalent to Mfumo, chief or 
head of family. 

At night Gidi Mavunga came to our quarters 
and began to talk sense. Knowing that my time 
was limited, he enlaiged upon the badness of the 
road and the too evident end of the travelling 
season, when the great rains would altogether pre- 
vent fast travel. Banza Ninga, the next stage, 
was distant two or three marches, and neither 
shelter nor provisions were to be found on the 


Return to the Congo Mouik. 301 

way. Here a canoe would carry us for a day 
(12 miles) to the Sangala Rapids: then would 
come the third portage of two days {22 miles) to 
Nsundi. My outfit at Banza Nokki was wholly 
insufficient ; the riverine races were no longer 
tractable as in the days of his father, when white . 
men first visited the land. My best plan was to 
return to Boma at once, organize a party, and 
march upon Congo Grande (S. Salvador) ; there I 
should find whites, Portuguese, Englishmen and 
■ their " Kru-men" the term generally applied on the 
southern coast to all native employes of foreign 
traders. If determined upon being " converted 
into black man" I might join some trading party 
into the interior. As regards the cloth and beads 
advanced by me foi" the journey to Nsundi, a fair 
proportion would be returned at Banza Nokki. 
And so saying the old fox managed to look as if 
he meant what he said. 

All this, taken with many a grain, was reason- 
able. The edge of my curiosity had been taken 
off by the Yellala, and nothing new could be ex- 
pected from the smaller formations up stream. 
Time forbade me to linger at Banza Nkulu. The 
exorbitant demand had evidendy been made by 
express desire of Gidi Mavunga, and only a fort- 
night's delay could have reduced it to normal 
dimensions. Yet with leisure success was evident 
All the difficulties of the Nsundi road would have 



302 Return to the Congo Mouth. 

vanished when faced. The wild people showed 
no feeling against foreigners, and the Nkulu 
linguisters during their last visit b^ged me to 
return as soon as possible and " no tell He." I 
could only promise that their claims should be laid 
before the public. Accordingly a report of this 
trip was at once sent in to Her Majesty's Foreign 
Office, and a paper was read before the British 
Association of September, 1864. 

Early on Thursday morning (Sept 1 7) we began 
the down march. It was a repetition of the up 
march, except that all were bent upon rushing home, 
like asses to their stables ; none of those /oj:A, or 
regular halts on the line of march, as practised by 
well-trained voyageurs, are known to Congo-land. 
There was some reason for the hurry, and tra- 
vellers in these regions will do well to remember 
it, or they may starve with abundance around 
them. The kings and chiefs hold it their duty to 
entertain the outward bound ; but when cloth, beads, ' 
and rum have been exhausted, the returning wan- 
derer sits under a tree instead of entering the 
banza, and it is only an exceptional householder 
who will send him a few eggs or plantains. They 
" cut " you, as a rule, more coolly than ever town 
man cut a continental acquaintance. Finally, the 
self-imposed hardships of the down march break 
men's spirits for further attempts, and their 
cupidity cannot neutralize their natural indolence 
thus reinforced. 


Return to the Congo Mouth. 303 

We entered on the next afternoon Gidi Ma- 
vunga's villi^e, where the lieges received him widi 
shouts and hand-clappings : at the Pap^;ayo's 
there was a dance which lasted through that night 
and the next I stayed three days at Chinguvu 
finishing my sketehes, but to have recovered any- 
thing from the guide would have required three 
weeks. The old villain relaxed his vigilance over 
the women, who for the first time were allowed to 
enter the doors without supervision : Merolla 
treats of this stale trick, and exclaims, — 

" Ah pereat 1 didicit fallere si qua virum." 

I was reminded of the classical sentiment upon 
the Rio de S. Francisco {" Highlands of the 
Brazil," ii. chap, xiv.), where, amongst other senti- 
ments, the boatmen severely denounce in song 

" Mulher que engana tropeiro." 

As a rule throughout West Africa, where even 
the wildest tribes practise it, the "panel dodge" 
served, as Dupuis remarked, to supply the slave- 
trade, and in places like Abeokuta it became a 
nuisance : the least penalty to which it leads is 
the confiscation of the Lothario's goods and 
chattels. Foiled in his benevolent attempt, the 
covetous senior presently entered the hut, and 
began unceremoniously to open a package of cloth 
which did not belong to him. Selim cocked his 


304 Return to the Congo Mouth. 

revolver, and placed it handy, so the goods were 
afterwards respected. 

At length, on Sept 19, a piece of cloth ( = 48 
yards) procured a canoe. But calico and beads 
are not removed from an African settlement with- 
out disturbance : my factotum has given a detailed 
account of the scene.' Gidi Mavunga so managed 
that the porters, instead of proceeding straight to 
the stream, marched upon Banza Nokld where his 
royal son was awaiting us. Worse still, Nessudi- 
kira's royal mother was there, a large old virago, 
who smoked like a steam-engine and who " swore 
awful." The moleques were armed, but none 
liked proceeding to extremes; so, after an un- 
usually loud quarrel, we reached the river in three 
hours, and at 9.45 a.m. we set out for Boma. 

The down voy^e was charming. Instead of 
hug^ng the southern bank, we raced at a swinging 
pace down mid-stream. A few showers had 
wonderfully improved the aspect of the land, 

" Every tree well from his fellow grew 
With branches broad, laden with leaves new. 
That spriiigen out a^nst the sunny sheen, 
Some very red and some a glad hght green ;" 

and the first breath of spring gave life to the 
queer antediluvian vegetation — calabash and 

' In the " Geographical Magazine" for February, 1875. 


Rdurn to the Congo Mouth. 305 

cactus, palmyra, bombax, and fern. An admi- 
rable mirage lifted the canoes which preceded us 
clean out of the river, and looking down, stream 
the water seemed to flow up hill, as it does, accord- 
ing to Mrs. , in the aqueducts of Madeira. 

Although the tide began to flow up shortly after 
10 A.M., and the sea-breeze was unusually strong, 
we covered the forty-five miles in 7 hrs. 15 m. 
Amidst shouts of " Izakula Mundeh," — white men 
cum agen !— we landed at Boma, and found that 
the hospitable Sr. Pereira had waited dinner, to 
which I applied myself most " wishedly." 

Once more in civilization, we prepared for a 
march upon S. Salvador. 

No white man at Boma knew anything of the 
road to the old Capital ; but, as a letter had been 
received from it after-three days' march, there was 
evidently no difficulty. I wrote to Porto da Lenha 
for an extra supply of " black money," which was 
punctually forwarded; both Chico Furano and 
Nihama Chamvu volunteered for the journey, and 
preparations were progressing as rapidly as could 
be expected in these slow-moving lands, when they 
were brought to the abruptest conclusion. On the 
24th Sept a letter from the Commodore of the 
station informed me that I had been appointed 
H. M.'s Commissioner to Dahome, and that, unless 
I could at once sail in H.M.S. "Griffon," no 
other opportunity would be found for some time. 


306 Return to ike Congo Mouth. 

The only step left was to apply for a canoe, and, 
after a kindly farewell to my excellent host, I left 
Boma on the evening of Sept. 25. 

With a view of " doing" the mosquitoes, we ran 
down the Nshibul or central arm of the Nzadi, 
and found none of the whirlpools mentioned by the 
" Expedition" near Fetish Rock. The bright clear 
night showed us silhouettes of dark holms, high 
and wooded to the north, and southwards banks 
of papyrus outlying long stra^llng lines of thin 
islands like a huge caterpillar. The canoe-men 
attempted to land at one place, declaring that some 
king wanted " dash," but we were now too strong 
for them : these fellows, if allowed, will halt to 
speak every boat on the river. The wind fell to 
a dead calm, and five hours and a half sufficed to 
cover the thirty miles between Boma and Porto 
da Lenha. Here Mr. Scott supplied me with a 
fine canoe and a fresh crew of seven paddles. 

The noon was grey and still as we left the 
Whydah of the south, but at 2 p.m. the sea-breeze 
came up stiff and sudden, the tide also began to 
flow ; the river roared ; the meeting of wind and 
water produced what the Indus boatmen call a 
" lahar " (tide rip), and the Thalweg became almost 
as rough as the Yellala. Our canoe was literally 

" Laying her whole side on the sea, 
As a leaping Ash does." 

Unwilling to risk swamping my instruments, I 


Return to the Congo Mouth, 307 

put into the northern bank, where our friend, the 
palhabote Espirance, passed under a tricolour, 
and manned only by Laptots. As we waved a 
signal to them, they replied with a str^gling fire 
of musketry to what they considered a treacherous 
move on the part of plundering Musurungus. At 
sunset a lump of scirrhus before the sun was so 
dense that tts dark shadow formed a brush like 
the trabes of a comet. This soon melted away, 
and a beautifully diaphanous night tempted us to 
move towards the dreary funnel of darkness 
which opened ahead. The clouds began to pour ; 
again the stream became rough, and the swift 
upper or surface current meeting the cross-tide 
below represented an agitated " Race of Portland." 
Wet and weary we reached Banana Point on 
Sunday, Sept 27, 1863, fortunately not too "late 
for the mail," and,, next day, I was on board 
" Griffon," ready for Dahome and for my late host 
King Gelele. 




>I the preceding pages some details have 
been given concerning domestic slavery 
upon the Congo River. Like poly- 
gamy, the system of barbarous and semi- 
barbarous races, it must be held provisional, but 
in neither case can we see any chance of present 
end. Should the Moslem wave of conquest, in a 
moral as well as a material form, sweep — and I am 
persuaded that it will sweep — from North Africa 
across the equator, the effect will be only to 
establish both these "patriarchal institutions" 
upon a stronger and a more rational basis. 

All who believe in " progress " are socially anti- 
slavers, as we all are politically Republicans. But 
en the two extremes, between despotism, in 
society is regimented like an army, and 
', where all men are theoretically free and 


The Slaver and (he Missionary. 309 

equal, there are infinite shades of solid rule and 
government which the wisdom of nations adapts 
to their wants. The medium of constitutional 
monarchy or hereditary presidentship recommends 
itself under existing circumstances to the more 
advanced peoples, and with good reason ; we no- 
where find a prevalence of those manly virtues, dis- 
interestedness and self-sacrifice to the " respublica," 
which rendered the endurance of ancient republics 
possible. Rome could hardly have ruled the 
world for centuries had her merchants supplied 
Carthage with improved triremes or furnished the 
Parthians with the latest style of weapons. We 
must be wise and virtuous before we can hope to 
be good republicans, and man in the mass is not 
yet " homo sapiens ;" he is not wise, and certainly 
he is not virtuous. 

The present state of Africa suggests two 
questions concerning the abolition of the export 
slave-trade, which must be kept essentially distinct 
from domestic servitude. The first is, " Does the 
change benefit the negro ?" Into this extensive 
subject I do not propose to enter, contenting 
myself with recording a negative answer. But 
upon the second, " Is the world ready for its 
abolition ? " 1 would offer a few remarks. They 
will be ungrateful to that small but active faction 
which has laboured so long and so hard to mis- 
inform the English public concerning Africa, and 


310 The Slaver and i/ie Missionary 

which is as little fitted to teach anything about 
the African as to legislate for Mongolian Tartary. 
It has prevailed for a time to the great injury of 
the cause, and we cannot but see its effects in 
almost every step taken by the Englishman, civi- 
lian or soldier, who lands his British opinions and 
prejudices on the West Coast, and who, utterly 
ignoring the fact that the African, as far as his 
small interests are concerned, is one of the clearest 
sighted of men, unhesitatingly puts forth addresses 
and proclamations which he would not think of 
submitting to Europeans. But I have faith in my 
countrymen. If there be any nation that deserves 
to be looked upon as the arbiter of public opinion 
in Europe, it is England proper, which, to the 
political education of many generations, adds an 
innate sense of moderation, of justice, and of fair 
play, and a suspicion of extreme measures how- 
ever theoretically perfect, which do not exist else- 
where. Heinrich Heine expressed this idea after 
his Maccabean fashion, "Ask the stupidest 
Englishman a question of politics, and he will say 
something clever ; ask the cleverest Englishman 
a question of religion and he will say something 
stupid." Hence the well-wishers of England can 
feel nothing but regret when they find her clear 
and cold light of reason obscured, as it has been, 
upon the negro question by the mists and clouds 
of sentimental passion, and their first desire is to 
see this weakness pass away. 


in the Congo River. 3 1 1 

I unhesitatingly assert — and all unprejudiced 
travellers will agree with me — that the world still 
wants the black hand. Enormous tropical regions 
yet await the clearing and the draining operations 
by the lower races, which will fit them to become 
the dwelling-place of civilized man. 

But slave-exportation is practically dead ; we 
would not revive it, nor indeed could we, the re- 
vival would be a new institution, completely in 
disaccord with the spirit of the age. It is for us 
to find something which shall take its place, and 
which shall satisfy the just aspirations of those who 
see their industry and energy neutralized by want 
of labour. I need hardly say that all requirements 
would be met by negro-emigration ; and that not 
only Africa, but the world of the east as well as of 
the west, call for some measure of the kind. The 
"cooly" from Hindostan may in time become 
a valuable article, but it will be long before he 
can be induced to emigrate in sufficient num- 
bers : the Chinese will be a mistake when the neg- 
lected resources of the mighty " Central Em- 
pire," mineral and others, shall be ready to be de- 
veloped, as they soon must, under the supervision 
of Europeans. It remains only for us to draw 
upon the great labour-bank of Negro-land. 

A boni fide emigration, a free engagi system, 
would be a boon to Western and Inner Africa, where 
the tribes live in an almost continual state of petty 


312 The Slaver and the Missionary 

warfare. The anti-slavers and the abolitionists, of 
course, represent this to be the effect of the Euro- 
pean trade in man's flesh and blood ; but it prevails, 
and has ever prevailed, and long will prevail, even 
amongst peoples which have never sent a head of 
negro to the coast And there is a large class of 
men captured in battle, and a host of those con- 
demned to death by savage superstition, whose 
lives can be saved only by their exportation, which, 
indeed, is the African form of transportation. 
" We believe," says the Abbd Proyart ( 1 776), " that 
the father sells his son and the prince his subjects; 
he only who has lived among them can know that 
it is not even lawful for a man to sell his slave, if 
he be born in the country, unless he have incurred 
that penalty by certain crimes specified by law." 

It will be objected that any scheme of the kind 
must be so involved in complicated difficulties that 
it cannot fail to degenerate into the old export 
slave-trade. This I deny. Admitting that such 
must at first be its tendency, I am persuaded that 
the details can so be controlled as to secure the 
use without the abuse. Women and children, 
for instance, should never be allowed on board 
ship, unless accompanying husbands and parents. 
Those who speak some words of a foreign 
tongue, English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese, 
and on the eastern coast Hindostani, might 
lead the way, to be followed in due time by 


in the Congo River. 313 

the wilder races. Probably the best ground for 
the trial would be the Island of Zanzibar, where 
we can completely control its operations. And 
what should lend us patience and courage to meet 
and to beat down all diflBcultles is the considera- 
tion that success will be the sole possible means, 
independent of El Islam, of civilizing, or rather of 
humanizing, the Dark Continent. The excellent 
Abb^ Proyart begins his " History of Loango" with 
the wise and memorable words : " Touching the 
Africans, these people have vices, — what people is 
exempt from vice ? But, were they even more 
wicked and more vicious, they would be so much 
the more entitled to the commiseration and good 
offices of their fellow-men, and, should the mission- 
ary despair of making them Christians, men ought 
still to endeavour to make them men." 

The " Free Emigration" schemes hitherto at- 
tempted have been mere snares and delusions; 
chiefly, I hold, because the age was not ripe for 
them. In 1844 three agencies were established at 
Sierra Leone for supplying hands to British 
Guiana, Trinidad and Jamaica. As wages they 
offered per diem $075 to ti, with leave to return 
at pleasure ; the " liberated" preferred, however, 
to live upon sixpence at home, suspecting that the 
bait was intended as a lure to captivity. Nor 
were their fears lulled by the fact that the ^ents 
shipped amongst 250" volunteers" some seventy-six 


314 '^^'^ Slaver and Ihe Missionary 

wild slaves, fresh captives, who were not allowed to 
communicate with their fellow-countrymen ashore. 
In 1850 certain correspondents from Liverpool 
inquired of King " Eye Honesty" if he could 
provide for service in the West Indies 10,000 
men, women, and children, as the " quotum from 
the Old Calabar River," which would mean 1 00,000 
from the West Coast " He be all same ole slave- 
trade," very justly remarked that knowing po- 
tentate : he added, that he would respect the Sup- 
pression Treaty with England, and that he per- 
sonally preferred palm-oil, but that all the " Calabar 
gentlemen" and the neighbouring kings would be 
glad to supply slaves at a fixed price, four boxes 
of brass and copper rods. 

Followed, in 1852-3, the gigantic scheme of MM. 
R^gis et C", which began operations upon the 
East as well as the West Coast of Africa. Having 
studied it on both sides of the continent, I could 
not help forming the worst opinion of the attempt 
The agents never spoke of it except as a slave- 
trade ; thefacetiie touching"(i£r^a^" and "rackat" 
were highly suited to African taste, and 1 have 
often heard them declare before the people that 
" captives" are the only articles which can pro- 
fitably be exported from the coasts — in fact, Jis old 
Caspar Barl^ said, " precipuae merces ipsi Ethiopes 
sunt" I subjoin to this chapter the form of 
French passport ; it will serve, when a boni fide 
emigration shall be attempted, to show " how not 


in the Congo River. 315 

to do it." Happily this " emigration" has come 
to an end": M. R^gis, seeing no results, gave 
orders to sell off all the goods in his factories, and 
to retain only one clerk as housekeeper. The 
ouvriers libres deserted and fled in all directions, 
for fear of being " put in a cannibal pot " and being 
eaten by the white anthropophagi. 

The history of missionary enterprise in the 
Congo regions is not less interesting than the 
slave-trade. The first missioners sailed in De- 
cember, 1490, under Gon^alo de Sousa; of the 
three one were killed by the heat, and another 
having made himself " Chaplain to the Congolan 
Army," by a " Giaghi" chief The seed sown by 
these friars was cultivated by twelve Franciscans of 
the Order of Observants. The Right Reverend 
Fathers of the Company appeared in 1560 with 
the Conquistador Paulo Dias de Novaes. Accord- 
ing to Lopez de Lima, who seems to endorse the 
saying, " Si cum Jesuitis, non cum Jesu itis," they 
worried one captain-general to death, and they 
attempted to found in Congo-land another Uruguay 
or Paraguay. But here they totally failed, and, 
as yet indeed, they have not carried out, either in 
East or West Africa, the celebrated boast popularly 
attributed to their general, Borgia (1572) : 

" We shall come in like the lambs ; 
We shall be driven out like the dogs ; 
We shall rush like the wolves; 
We shall be renewed like the eagles." 


3i6 The Slaver and the Missionary 

The baptism of D. Alvaro I. (1491). the found- 
ing of the cathedral at S. Salvador (1534), the ap- 
pointment of the Bishop and Chapter, and their 
transfer to SSo Paulo de Loanda (1627), have 
already been alluded to. 

According to Fathers Carli and Merolla, Pope 
Alexander VII. sent twelve to fifteen Capuchins 
and apostolic missioners, who baptized the King 
and Queen of Congo and the Count of Sonho. 
Between a.d. 1490 and 1690 were the palmy 
days of Christianity in Congo-land, and for two 
centuries it was more or less the state religion. 
After this great effort missionary zeal seems to 
have waxed cold, and disestablishment resulted, 
as happens in such cases, from unbelief within and 
violent assaults from without Under the attacks 
of the Dutch and French the Church seems to 
have lost ground during the eighteenth century. 
In A,D. 1682 the number of propagandists in Sonho 
fell from a father superior and six missioners to 
two (Merolla). In a.0. 1700 James Barbot found 
at Sonho only two Portuguese friars of the Order 
of Bernardins. In a.d. 1768 the Loango Mission 
was established, and in a.d. 1777 the fathers were 
followed by four Italian priests sent by the Pro- 
paganda for the purpose of re-christianizing Sonho. 
Embarking at La Rochelle they entered the Nzadi, 
where one died of poison, and the survivors escaped 
only by stratagem. Christianity fell before the 


in the Congo River. 317 

old heathenism, and m 1814 we find the King of 
Congo, D, Garcia V., complaining to His Most 
Faithful Majestythat missioners were sadly wanted. 
Captain Tuckey's " Expedition" {a.d. 1816) well 
sets forth the spiritual destitution of the land. 
He tells us that three years before his arrival 
some missionaries had been murdered by the 
Sohnese; the only specimen he met was an 
ignorant half-caste with a diploma from the 
Capuchins of Loanda, and a wife plus five concu- 
bines. In 1863 I found that all traces of Chris- 
tianity had disappeared. 

These reverends — who were allowed to dispense 
with any " irregularity " except bigamy or wilful 
murder, and " to read forbidden books except 
Machiavel," — took the title of Nganga Mfumo' 
— Lord Medicine-man. In the fulness of early 
zeal they built at S. Salvador the cathedral of 
Santa Cruz, a Jesuit College, a Capuchin convent, 
the residence of the father superior, maintained by 
the King of Portugal ; a religious house for the 
Franciscans, an establishment for the Bishop and 
his Chapter, and half-a-dozen stone churches. All 
these edifices have long been in ruins. 

Father Cavazzi da Monte Cuccoli, Denis de 
Carli, and Merolla, themselves missioners, have 
left us ample accounts of the ecclesiastical rule 

' In Carli Grainga and Fomet, evident cacc^iaphy. 


3i8 The Slaver and the Missionary 

which, during its short tenure of office, bore a re- 
markable family resemblance to that of the Jesuit 
missions in South America. The religious des- 
potism was complete, a tyranny grossly aggravated 
by the credulity, the bigotry, and the superstition, 
— I will not say of the age, because such things are 
of all ages, but of the imperfect education which 
the age afforded. There was no improvement, 
but rather a deterioration from the days of Pliny. 
One father tells the converts that comets forbode 
ill to the world. Another describes a bird not 
much unlike a sparrow, at first sight it seems 
wholly black, but upon a nearer view it looks blue ; 
the excellency of its song is that it harmoniously 
and articulately pronounces the name of Jesus 
Christ A third remarks, " they (the heathen) are 
excited by the heavens forming a cross under 
the zone ; they are excited by the mountains which 
have the cross carved on them, without knowing 
by whom ; they are excited by the earth which 
draws the cruci6x in its fruit called Nicefo." Yet 
all these things are of little force to move the 
hearts of those Gentiles who scoffingly cry, 
" When we are sick, forsooth, the wood of this 
cross will cure us ! " Another father, resolving to 
denounce certain heathen practices, placed on the 
Feast of Purification an image of the Virgin in 
relievo upon the altar, and " with a da^er struck 
through her breast on which the blood followed : " 


in Ike Congo River. 319 

like Mark Antony, he " improved the occasion," 
and sent home the fathers of families to thrash 
their wives and daughters who were shut up in the 
" paint houses." It is gravely related how a 
hungry friar dines copiously on fish with an angel ; 
how another was saved by the " father of miracles, 
the glorious Saint Anthony of Padua," whom 
another priest, taking as his patron, sees before 
his hammock. A woman, bearing a child in her 
arms and supposed to be the Virgin, attends the 
Portuguese army, and she again appears in the 
shape of a " beautiful beggar." The miraculous 
resurrection of a boiled cock is gravely chronicled. 
A certain man lived 380 years " at the intercession 
of Saint Francis d' Assise." Of course, the mis- 
sioners saw water-monsters in the Congo River. 
A child " came from his mother's womb with a 
beard and all his teeth, perhaps to show he was 
bom into the world grown old in vice." A certain 
scoffer " being one day to pass a river with two 
companions, was visibly taken up by an invisible 
hand into the air. One of his companions, going 
to take hold of him by the feet, had such a cuff 
given him that he fell down in the boat, and the 
offender was seen no more." Father Merolla talks 
of a breed in the Cabo Verde Islands " between 
bulls and she-asses, which they compassed by 
binding a cow's hide upon the latter:" it would 
be worth inquiring if this was ever attempted, and 


320 The Slaver and the Missionary 

it might add to our traditions about the " Jumart." 
And the tale of the elephant-hunters deceiving the 
animals by anointing themselves with their drop- 
pings deserves investigation. Wounds of poisoned 
arrows are healed by that which produced them. 
A woman's milk cures the venomous foam which 
cobras spit into the eyes. A snake as big as a 
beam kills and consumes men with its look. An 
" ill liver," reprimanded by his father for vicious 
inclinadons, fires a pistol at him ; the rebound of 
the bullet from the paternal forehead, which re- 
mains whole, severely wounds the would-be parri- 
cide : the ablest surgeons cannot heal the hurt, 
and the flesh ever continues to be sore and raw 
upon the forehead, acting like the brand of 

It is said that two of a trade never agree, and 
accordingly we find the hottest wrath of the mis- 
sioners vented upon their rival brethren, the 
Ngangas or medicine-men in Africa, and the 
Pagds or Tupi doctora in South America. The 
priestly presence deprives an idol of all its powers, 
the sacerdotal power annihilates all charms and 
devices, " thereby showing that the performances 
of Christ's ministers are always above those of 
the devil's." These " Scinghili," or " Gods of the 
Earth" (magicians), can sink boats, be ferried 
over rivers by crocodiles, and " converse with 
tigers, serpents, lions and other wild animals." 


in tlie Congo River. 321 

The " great ugly wizards " are " sent martyrs to 
the devil " on all possible occasions. One father 
soundly belabours one of these " wicked Magi " 
with the cord of his order, invoking all the while 
the aid of Saint Michael and the rest of the saints : 
he enters the " hellish tabernacle, arming himself 
frequently with the sign of the cross," but he 
retreats for fear of a mischief from the " poor 
deluded pagans," — showing that he is, after all, but 
an " unbelieving Thomas." On the other hand, 
the wizards solidly revenged themselves by killing 
and eating Father Philip da Salesia. And the 
deluded ones must have found some difficulty in 
discovering the superiority of exotic over indige- 
nous superstitions. When there is a calm at sea 
the sailors stick their patron against the mast, and 
kneeling before him say, "Saint Antony, our 
countryman, you shall be pleased to stand there, 
till you have given us a fair wind to continue our 
voyage I " A certain bishop of Congo makes the 
sign of the cross upon a " banyan-tree," whereupon 
it immediately died, like the fig-tree cursed by our- 
Saviour. A ship is "sunk in a trice" for not 
having a chaplain on board her. The missioners 
strongly recommend medals, relics, Agni-Dei, 
and palm-leaves consecrated on Palm Sundays. 
They rage furiously against and they flog those 
who wear "wizards' mats," against magic cords 
fastened round young children as amulets, and 


322 The Slaver and the Missionary 

against the teeth and bones of animals, and cloth 
made from the rind of certain trees carried 
as preservatives from disease and supernatural 
influences : even banners in burial-places are 
" superstitious and blamable." They claim the ■ 
power of stopping rain by cursing the air, and of 
producing it by prayer, and by " a devout proces- 
sion to Our Lady of Pinda," a belief truly worthy 
of the Nganga ; and a fast ship is stranded that 
" men may learn to honour holidays better." When 
the magicians swear falsely they either burst like 
Judas or languish and die — " a warning to be more 
cautious how they jest with God." An old hag, 
grumbling after a brutish manner, proceeds to 
bewitch a good father to death by digging a hole 
and planting a certain herb. The ecclesiastic 
resolved to defeat her object by not standing long 
in one place. He remembers the saying of the 
wise man, " Mulier nequam plaga mortis ; " and at 
last by ordering her off in the name of the Blessed 
Trinity and the Holy Virgin, "withal gendy 
blowing towards her," she all of a sudden giving 
three leaps, and howling thrice, flies away in a 
trice. The Bolungo or Chilumbo oath or ordeal 
is, of course, a " hellish ceremony." Demons play 
as active a part in Africa as in China. The Por- 
tuguese nuncio permits the people in their simpli- 
city to light candles before and to worship the so- 
called " Bull of the Blessed Sacrament," that by 


in the Congo River. 323 

which Urban VIII. allowed the Congo kings to 
be crowned after the Catholic manner by the Ca- 
puchins, because the paper bears the " vene- 
rable effigies." 

Priests may be good servants, but they are, 
mundanely speaking, bad masters. The ecclesias- 
tical tyranny exercised upon the people from the 
highest to the lowest goes far to account for the 
extinction of Christianity in the country where so 
much was done to spread it. The kings of Congo- 
land, who " tread on the lion in the kingdom of 
their mothers " must abjectly address their spiritual 
lords. " I conjure you, prostrate at your holy 
feet, to hearken to my words." Whilst the 
friars talk of "that meekness which becomes a 
missioner," their unwise and unwarrantable inter- 
ference extends to the Count of Sonho himself; 
whose election was not valid unless published 
in the church, owning withal that, " though a 
Black, he is an absolute Prince ; and not unworthy 
of a Crown, though he were even in Italy, consider- 
ing the number of his Servants and the extent of 
his Dominions." They issue eight ordinances or 
"spiritual memorandums" degrading governors 
of cities and provinces who are not properly 
married, who neglect mass, or who do not keep 
saints' festivals. Flogging seems to have been 
the punishment of all infractions of discipline, for 
those who used " magic guards " to their fields 


324 The Slaver and the Missionary 

instead of " setting the sign of the Cross ; " and for 
all who did not teach their children " to repeat, so 
many times a day, the Rosary or the Crown, in 
honour of the Blessed Virgin, to fast on Saturdays, 
to eat no flesh on Wednesdays, and such things 
used among Christians." One of the Mwanis 
(governors) refuses to grub up and level with his 
own hands a certain grove where the " hellish 
trade " (magic) was practised ; he is commanded 
to discipline himself in the church during the 
whole time of celebrating mass. If the governor 
is negligent in warning the people that a missioner 
has arrived, "he will receive a deserved punish- 
ment, for we make it our business to get such a 
person removed from his employment, even 
within his year," — a system of temporal penalties 
affixed to spiritual laches not unknown elsewhere. 
The following anecdote will show the style of 
reproof. Father Benedict da Belvedere, a Nea- 
politan who had preached at Rome and was like- 
wise confessor to the nuns, heard the chief elector, 
one of the principal nobles, asking the heretical 
question, " Are we not all to be saved by bap- 
tism?" A "sound box on the ear" was the 
reply, and it led to a tumult. The head of the 
mission sent for the offended dignitary, and offered 
him absolution if he would sincerely recant his 
words and beg pardon of the churchman militant. 
The answer was, " That would be pleasant indeed ; 


in the Congo River. 325 

he was the aggressor, yet I must make the excuse ! 
Must I receive a blow, and, notwithstanding, be 
thought to have done wrong ? " But the peace- 
maker explained that the blow was given not to 
offend, but to defend from hearkening to heresies ; 
that it wjis administered, moreover, out of paternal 
affection by a spiritual father, whom it did not mis- 
become, to a son who was not dishonoured by 
receiving it. The unfortunate elector not only 
suffered in the ear, but was also obliged to make 
an abject apology, and to kiss the offender's feet 
before he was re-admitted to communion. At 
Maopongo the priests lost favour with the court 
and the women by whipping the queen, and, by 
the same process they abated the superhuman 
pretensions of the blacksmith. 

When the chiefs and princes were so treated, 
what could the subjects expect? The smallest 
ecclesiastical faults were punished with fining and a 
Talmudic flogging, and for disobedience, a man 
was sent " bound to Brazil, a thing they are more 
than ordinarily afraid of." A man taking to wife, 
after the Mosaic law, a woman left in widow-hood 
by his kinsman, is severely scourged, and the same 
happens to a man who marries his cousin, besides 
being deprived of a profitable employment Every 
city and town in Sonho had a square with a central 
cross, where those who had not satisfied the Easter 
command or who died unconfessed were buried 


326 The Slaver and the Missionary 

without privilege of clergy. The missioners insist 
upon their privilege of travelling free of expense, 
and make a barefaced use of the corvie. The 
following is the tone of a mild address to the laity: 
"Some among you are like your own maccacos or 
monkeys amongst us who, keeping possession of 
anything they have stolen, will sooner suffer them- 
selves to be taken and killed, than to let go their 
prey. So impure swine wallow in their filth and 
care not to be cleansed." 

A perpetual source of trouble was of course the 
slave-trade : negroes being the staple of the land, 
and ivory the other and minor item, the great 
profits could not fail to render It the subject of 
contention. The reasons why the Portuguese 
never succeeded in making themselves masters of 
Sonho are reduced by the missioner annalists to 
three. Firstly, the opposition of the people caused 
by fear ; secondly, the objections of the Sonhese 
to buying arms and ammunition ; and, thirdly, the 
small price paid by the Portuguese for " captives." 
The " Most Reverend Cardinal Cibo," writing in 
the name of the Sacred College, complained that 
the " pernicious and abominable abuse of slave- 
selling " was carried on under the eyes of the mis- 
sioners, and peremptorily ordered them to remedy 
the evil. Finding this practically impossible, the 
holy men salved their consciencesby ordering their 
flocks not to supply negroes to the heretical Hol- 


in the Congo River. 327 

landers and English, " whose religion is so very 
contrary to ours," but to the Portuguese, who would 
" withdraw the poor souls out of the power of 
Lucifer." One father goes so far, in his fear of 
heretical influences, as to remunerate by the gift 
of a slave the dealer Ferdinand© Gomez, who had 
supplied him with " a flask of wine for the sacra- 
ment and some other small things," yet he owns 
F. Gomez to be a rogue. 

As the Portuguese would not pay high prices 
like the heretics, disturbances resulted, and these 
were put down by the desperate expedient of 
shutting the church-doors — a suicidal act not yet 
quite obsolete. Whereupon the Count of Sonho, 
we are told, "changed his countenance almost 
from black to yellow," and complained to the 
bishop at Loanda that the sacraments were not 
administered : the appeal was in vain, and, worse, 
an extra aid was sent to the truculent church- 
men. Happily for them, the small-pox broke out, 
and the ruler was persuaded by his subjects to do 
the required penance. Appearing at the convent, 
unattended, with a large rope round his neck, clad 
in sackcloth, crowned with thorns, unshod, and 
carrying a crucifix, he knelt down and kissed the 
feet of the priest, who said to him, " If thou hast 
sinned like David, imitate him likewise in thy 
repentance ! " 

The schismatics caused abundant trouble 


328 Tkt Slaver and the Missionary 

Captain Cornelius Clas "went about sowing 
heretical tares amidst the true com of the Gospel ; " 
amongst other damnable doctrines and subtleties, 
this nautical and volunteer theologian persuaded 
the blacks, whom he knew to be desirous of greater 
liberty in such matters, that baptism is the only 
sacrament necessary to salvation, because it takes 
away original sin, as the blood of the Saviour 
actual sin. He furthermore (impudently) dis- 
owned the real presence in the consecrated Host; 
he invoked Saint Anthony, although his tribe 
generally denies that praying to saints can be of 
any use to man ; and he declared that priests 
should preach certain doctrines (which, by the 
way, were perniciously heretical). Thus in a single 
hour he so prevailed upon those miserable negroes 
that their hearts became quite as black as their 
faces. An especially offensive practice of the 
Hollanders, in the eyes of the good shepherds, 
was that of asking the feminine sheep for a whiflf 
of tobacco — it being a country custom to consider 
the taking a pipe from a woman's mouth a " pro- 
bable earnest of future favours." When an 
English ship entered the river, the priests forbade 
by manifesto the sale of slaves to the captain, he 
being a Briton, er^ a heretic, despite the Duke of 
York. The Count of Sonho disobeyed, and was 
excommunicated accordingly : he took his punish- 
ment with much patience, although upon occasions 


in tJte Congo River. 329 

of reproof he would fly into passions and disdains ; 
he was reconciled only after obliging 400 couples 
that lived in concubinage to lawful wedlock, and 
thus a number of " strayed souls was reduced to 

We can hardly wonder that, under such disci- 
pline, a large ecclesiastical body was necessary to 
" maintain the country in its due obedience to the 
Christian faith," and that, despite their charity in 
alms and their learning, no permanent footing was 
possible for the strangers. Nor can we be aston- 
ished that the good fathers so frequently complain 
of being poisoned. On one occasion a batch of 
six was thus treated near Bamba. In this matter 
perhaps they were somewhat fanciful, as the white 
man in India is disposed to be. One of them, for 
instance cured himself with a "fruit called a 
lemon " and an elk-hoof, from what he took to be 
poison, but what was possibly the effect of too 
much pease and pullet broth. In " O Muata 
Cazembe " (pp. 65-66), we find that the Asiatic Por- 
tuguese attach great value to the hoof of the 
Nhumbo (A. gnu), they call it " unha de gra- 
besta," and use it even in the gotta-coral (epi- 

And yet many of these ecclesiastics, whom Lopez 
de Lima justly terms " fabulistas," were industrious 
and sensible men, where religion was not con- 
cerned. They carefully studied the country, its 


330 The Slaver and the Missionary 

" situation, possessions, habitations, and clothing." 
They formed always outside their faith the justest 
estimate of their black fellow-creatures. I cannot 
too often repeat Father Merolla's dictum, " The 
reader may perceive that the negroes are both a 
malicious and subtle people that spend the most 
part of their time in circumventing and deceiving." 
Nor has spiritual despotism been confined to 
the Catholic missions in West Africa : certain 
John Knoxes in the Old Calabar River have 
repeated, especially in the cjise of the king " young 
Eyo," whom they excluded from communion, all 
the abuses and the errors of judgment of the 
seventeenth century with the modifications of the 
nineteenth. And we must not readily endorse 
Dr. Livingstone's professional opinion. "In view 
of the desolate condition of this fine missionary 
field, it is more than probable that the presence of 
a few Protestants would soon provoke the priests, 
if not to love, to good works." Such is not the his- 
tory of our propagandism about the Cape of 
Good Hope. Dr. Gustav Fritsch {" The Natives 
of South Africa," 1872), thus speaks of the mis- 
sionary Livingstone, who must not be confounded 
with the great explorer Livingstone : " A man who 
is borne onward by religious enthusiasm and a 
glowing ambition, without our being able to say 
which of these two levers works more powerfully 
in his soul. Certain it is that he endured more 


in the Congo River. 331 

labours and overcame more geographical difficulties 
than any other African traveller either before or 
after him ; yet it is also sure that, on account of 
the defective natural- historical education of the 
author, and the indiscreet partisanship for the 
natives against the settlers, his works have spread 
many false views concerning South Africa." This, 
I doubt not, will be the verdict of posterity. See 
" Anthropologia," in which are included the Pro- 
ceedings of the London Anthropological Society 
(inaugurated 22 January, 1873. No. i, October, 
1873. London: Bailli^re, Tindall, and Co.) The 
Review (pp. 89-102), bears the well-known initials 
J . B. D., and it is not saying too much that no man 
in England is so well fitted as Dr. Davis to write 
it. I quote these passages without any' feeling 
of disrespect for the memory of the great African 
explorer. Truth is a higher duty even than 
generous appreciation of a heroic name, and the 
time will come when Negrophilism must succumb 
to Fact. 




HAVE thus attempted to trace a pic- 
ture of the Congo River in the latter 
days of the slave-trade, and of its lineal 
descendant, "L'ImmigrationAfricaine." 
The people at large are satisfied, and the main 
supporters of the traffic — the chiefs, the " medicine- 
men," and the white traders— have at length been 
powerless to arrest its destruction. 

And here we may quote certain words of wisdom 
from the "Congo Expedition" in 1816 : " It is not 
to be expected that the effects of abolition will be 
immediately perceptible ; on the contrary, it will 
probably require more than one generation to be- 
come apparent : for effects, which have been the conse- 
quence of a practice of three centuries, will certainly 
continue long after the cause is removed." The 
allusion in the sentence which I have italicized, is 
of course, to the American exportation — domestic 


Concluding Remarks. 333 

slavery must date from the earliest ages. These 
sensible remarks conclude with advocating " coloni- 
zation in the cause of civilization ; " a process which 
at present cannot be too strongly deprecated. 

That the Nzadi is capable of supplying some- 
thing better than slaves may be shown by a list of 
what its banks produce. Merolla says in 1682 ; 
" Cotton here is to be gathered in great abundance, 
and the shrubs it grows on are so prolific, that they 
never almost leave sprouting." Captain Tuckey 
(" Narrative," p. 120) declares " the only vegeta- 
ble production at Boma of any consequence in 
commerce is cotton, which grows wild most luxu- 
riantly, but the natives have ceased to gather it 
since the English have left off trading to the river." 
I will not advocate tobacco, cotton and sugar; 
they are indigenous, it is true, but their cultiva- 
tion is hardly fitted to the African in Africa. Cop- 
per in small quantities has been brought from the 
interior, but the mineral resources of the wide inland 
regions are wholly unknown. If reports concerning 
mines on the plateau be trustworthy, there will be a 
rush of white hands, which must at once change, and 
radically change, all the conditions of the riverine 
country. Wax might be supplied in large quanti- 
ties ; the natives, however, have not yet learnt to 
hive their bees. Ivory was so despised by the 
slave-trade, that it was sent from the upper Congo 
to Mayumba and the other exporting harbours ; 


334 Concluding Remarks. 

demand would certainly produce a small but re^lar 

The two staples of commerce are now repre- 
sented by palm-oil, which can be produced in quan- 
tities over the lowlands upon the whole river delta, 
and along the banks from the mouth to Boma, a 
distance of at least fifty direct miles. The second, 
and the more important, is the arachis, or ground- 
nut, which flourishes throughout the highlandsof the 
interior, and which, at the time of my visit, was 
beginning to pay. As the experience of some 
thirty years on different parts of the West Coast 
has proved, both these articles are highly adapted 
to the peculiarities of the negro cultivator ; they 
require little labour, and they command a ready, a 
regular, and a constant sale. 

When time shall be ripe for a bona fide emigra- 
tion, the position of Boma, at the head of the delta, 
a charming station, with healthy air and delicious 
climate, points it out as the head-quarters. Houses 
can be built for nominal sums, the neighbouring 
hills offer a sanatorium, and due attention to diet 
and clothing will secure the white man from the 
inevitable sufferings that result from living near 
the lower course. 

With respect to the exploration of the upper 
stream, these pages, compared with the records of 
the " First Congo Expedition," will show the many 
changes which time has brought with it, and will 


Concluding Remarks. 335 '}■')-' 

suggest the steps most likely to forward the tra- 
veller's views. At some period to come explorers 
will follow the .line chosen by the unfortunate 
Tuckey ; but the effects of the slave-trade must 
have passed away before that march can be made 
without much obstruction. When Lieutenant 
Grandy did me the honour of asking my advice, I 
suggested that he might avoid great delay and ex- 
cessive outlay by " turning " the obstacle and by 
engaging " Cabindas " instead of Sierra Leone 
men. At the Royal Geographical Society (Dec. 
14th, 1874) he thus recorded his decision : "For 
the guidance of future travellers in the Congo 
country, I would suggest that all the carriers be 
engaged at Sierra Leone, where any number can 
be obtained for is. T,d. a day. From my experi- 
ence of them I can safely say they will be found 
to answer every requirement, and the employment 
of them would render an expedition entirely inde- 
pendent of the natives, who, by their cowardice 
and constant desertion, entailed upon us such heavy 
expenses and serious delays." My conviction, after 
nearly four years of travel upon the West African 
coast, is this : if Sierra Leone men be used, they 
must be mixed with Cabindas and with Congoese 
" carregadores," registered in presence of the Por- 
tuguese authorities at S. Paulo de Loanda. 

I conclude with the hope that the great Nzadi, 
one of the noblest, and still the least known of the 


336 Concluding Remarks. 

four principal African arteries, will no longer be 
permitted to flow through the White Blot, a region 
unexplored and blank to geography as at the time 
of its creation, and that my labours may contribute 
something, however small, to clear the way for the 
more fortunate explorer. 





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Plakts Collected in the Congo, at Dahome, and i 
Island of Annabom, by Mr. Consul Burton. 

Received at the Herbarium, Royal Gardens, Kew, 
September, 1864. 

Argemoae Mencana. 


Cleome Guineensis, Hf. . 


Gynardropsis pentaphylla, D. C. 


Ritcheia fragrans. Br. 


Alsodeia sp. . . . . 



Polygala avenaria, Willd. . 


Polycaipsa linearifolia . 

Dahome (not laid in). 

Sedacordifolia,L. . 

. Congo. 

Seda an S. bumilis (?) 


Seda urens, L. . . . 

. Ditto. 

Abutilon ^ . . . . 


Urena lobata, L. . . . 

Annabom and Congo. 

Hibiscus camiabinus, L. . 


Hibiscus vitifoUus, L. 


Hibiscus (Abelmoschus) Moscbatus, 
Moench .... 

1 Ditto. 

Hibiscus afif. H. SabdariffiE . 


Gossypium sp. ... 


Walthenia Indica, L. 


Walthenia(?) .... 


Triumfetta rhomboidea (?) 

( Congo, Annabom, Da- 
1 home. 

Acridocarpus sp. 


Citius Aurantium (?) 

Annabom (not laid in). 

Citrus sp. .... 

Ditto. ditto. 




Cardtospmnuin Helicacftbuni, L. Amuboin. 

Anacardium ocddental^ L 

. Congo and Anoabom. 

Spondias dubia ? Reich. 


Cnestis(?) sp. . 

. Dahome. 

Cneatis (?) ap. . 

. Congo. 

p) Spondias sp. (veiy youn 

%) . . Ditto (not laid in). 

(?) Soindeia sp. fl. ft. 

. Congo. 

Rosa sp. . 

. Ditto (not laid in). 

Jusaeua acuminata, Jno. . 

. Congo. 

JussieualinifolJa(?) Vahl. 

. Ditto. 

MoUugo Spergula, L. 

. Ditto. 

. Dahmne (fl. only). 

Combretum sp. 

. Congo. 

Quisqualis ebiacteata (?) 

. Ditto. 

Combretum sp. (fruct.) 

. Ditto (not laid in). 

Combretum sp. 

. Congo. 

Modeecatammfoli»(?), Kl 

. Aimabom. 

Syzygium Avaiiense, Kth. 

. Congo. 

Melothria triangularis (?), 

ith. . Ditto. 

Mdothria (?) sp. 

. Ditto. 

Cucurbitacae (3 other spp 

very imperfect and not laid in). 

UmbeUiferse . 

. Congo. 

?), D.C. . Ditto, Annabom (?) 

Desmodium da v. adscenc 

ens . Congo. 

Z. . . Dahom& 

>, D. C. . Annabom. 

Cajanus Indicus, L. 

. Congo. 

Eniosema cajanoides 

. Ditto. 

Eniosema aS. id. 

. Ditto. 

. Ditto. 

Abnis precatorius (?) 

. Anitabom. 

Ksum sativum 

. Congo. 

Phaseolus sp. . 


Rhynchs^ia sp. 

. Conga 

Tephrosia sp. . 

. Ditto. 

MiUetia (?) sp. . 

. Ditto. 

MilletiaC?) . 

. Ditto. 



Milleda or Lonchocmpus (?) 

. Congo. 

Indigofera af. I. endeeaphylla. Jacq. . AnnalKMn. 

Indigofera sp. • 

. Congo. 

Indigofera sp. . 

. Dahome. 

Indigofera sp. . 

. Ditto. 

Sesbania sp. . . . 

. Congo. 

Crotalaiia sp. . 

. Dahome. 

Glycine labialis (?) . 

. Annabom, 

Etythiina sp. (?) 

. Dahome. 

Berlinia sp. (?) . 

. Congo. 

Cassia ocddentalis, L. 

. Ditto (not Iwd in). 

Cassia mimosoidea (?), L. . 

. Congo. 

Dichrostachys nutans (?) . 

. Ditto. 

Mimosa asperata (?), L. . 

. Congo (not laid in) 

Zygia fastigiata (?) Ela 

. Dahome. 

ensis Ditto, Annabom. 

Vemonia .... 

. COTgO. 

Vemonia an V. pandurata (?) 

. Ditto. 

Vemonia dnerea 

. Ditto. 

EthoHa conyzoides . 

. Ditto. 

Vemonia an V. pauciflora (?) 

. Dahome. 

Vemonia stscbodifolia, Scb. 

. Ditto. 

Ageratum conyzoides, L. . 

. Annabom, Congo. 

Mikania chenopodiifolia, WiUd. 

. Ditto. 

Grangea, sp. . . . 

. Congo. 

Bidens pilosa, L. 

. Ditto. 

Coronocarpus (?) 

. Dahome. 

Blumea (?) sp. . 

. Conga 


. Ditto. 

Blumea sp. . . . 

. Ditto. 

ChrysanlheUum Sengalense (?), I 

J.C. . Dahome. 

Verbesinoid. dub. . 

. Congo. 

. Ditto. 

Hedyotis corymbosa, L. . 

. Ditto. 

Otomeria Guineenais (?), Kth. 

. Ditta 

Randia longistyla, D. C. . 

. Dahome. 

Botierifl ramisparsa (?), D. C. va 

X. . Ditto. 




Octodon (?) sp. 
Spermacoce Ruelliae (?), D. C. 
Baconia Corymbosa, D, C. 
Baconia aff. d . 
RubiacdB, dub. 
Rubiacese . 
Rubiaceae . 
Diospyios (?) sp. 
Cynoctonum (?) aff. 
Ipomsa 5p. (?) . 
Ipom^ea sp. 
Iponuea sp. 
Iponuea sp. 
Ipomxa &licaulis, Bl. 
Ipomsa sp. 
Ipotnxa involucrata . 
Ipomaea sessiliSora (?) Clius (?) 
Leonods nepetifolia. Bil. 
Ocyraum an 0. gratissimum (?) 
Moschoesma polystachya (?) . 
Heliophytum Indicum, D. C. 
Heliotropium strigosum (?), Willd. 
Brillantaisia an B. patula, P. A. Q) 
Dicliptera verticillaiis (?), Juss. . 
Asystasia CoromandeUana (?) 
Justicia Galeopsis 
Lycopersicum esculentum , 
Capsicum an C. frutescena (?) 
Solanum .... 
Solanum .... 
Solanum .... 
Schwenckia Americana, L. 
Scoparia dulcis, L. . 
Spathodea kevis (?) . 
Sesamum Indicum, var. 
Plumbago Zeylanica, L. . 
Clerodendron miittifionun (?), Don. 

















Ditto, Congo. 


Ditto (not laid in). 

Ditto (ditto). 








Ditto (ditto). 

Ditto (ditto). 

Annabom (ditto). 

Congo (ditto). 


Congo (not laid in). 



Congo (ditto.) 

Ditto, imp., ditto. 




ClerodcDdron sp. . 
lippia sp. ... 
Lippia an L. Adoensis ? 
Stachytarphita Jamaicends, V. 
Celosia trigyna(?), L. 
Enia lanata 

Pupalia lappacea, Moq. 
Achyianthes involucrata, Moq. 
Achyianthes argentea(?), I^m. 
Celo^ aigentea, L. . 
Amaranthus paniculatus, L. 
Euxolus inidis . 
Phyllanthus pentandrus (?) 
Phyllanthus Nivari, L. 
Acalypha sp. . 
Masihot uCilissima (?) . - . 
Antidesrna venosum . 
Euphorbia pilulifera, L. 
Croton lobatuiD 

Phytolacca an P. Abyssinica (?) . 
Kidnus communU (?) 
Phyllanthus sp. 
Cannabis sativa, L. . 
Boerhaavia paniculata 
Pol}^onum Senegalense, Meiss 
Castas Afch. . 
Aneilema adhseiens (?) 
Aneilema an A. ovato-oblongeum 
Aneilema Beninense . 
Commolyna (?) 
Fragts. Commolyneae 
Phcenix (?) spadix- . 
Canna Indica (?) 
Chloris Varbata(?), Sw. . 
Andropogon (Cymbopt^n) sp. 
Andropc^on, an Sorghum (?) 
Panicum an OpUsmenus (?) 


. Ditto. 

. Ditto. 

. Dahotne. 


. Ditto (ditto). 

. AnnaboRi. 

. Dahome. 

. Congo. 

. Dahome (ditto). 

. Congo. 

. Congo. 

. Dahome. 

. Congo. 

. Ditto. , 

. Ditto. 

. Ditto. 

. Annabom. 

. Dahome. 

. Congo (bad,notbidin). 

. Congo (not laid in). 

. Ditto. 

. Ditto (ditto). 

. Ditto (ditto). 

. Ditto. 

. Ditto (ditto). 

. Ditto. 

. Ditto. 

. Congo. 


. (not laid in). 

. Congo. 

. Congo and Annabom. 

. Congo (not laid in). 

. Ditto. 

. Ditto (ditto). 

. Ditto (ditto). 



FaDicuiD sp. 

(p) Eleusine Indica . 

Eragrostis megastachya, I 

Leptochtoa sp (?) 

PeDnisetmn sp. 

Pemiisetum sp. 

Pennisetum sp. 

Mariscus sp. 

Cy. flagellatus (?) Hochst 

Cy. sphacelatus 

Scleria an S- racemosa 


Congo and Annabom. 

Annabom (not laid in). 










Heights of Stations, West Coast of Africa, Couputed 
PROM Observations hade bv Capt. Burton. 


9.— On route 





9. — Nokki, OQ hills 
above river. 





10. „ 


Mean = 1430 fe 



II.— Chingufii 







Mean 1703 feet. 
See Sept.18., &c. 


Appendix. ■ 

1863. feet 

Neloi^o's Village, lower down 781 
and nearer village. 871 I 

\ Mean = 828 feel. 



736 J 


13.— Cove near Congo 

River . 




14.— HiDs above Banza 





15.— Banza River . 


at level of river. 

Banza Nkulu above 




Mean = 1140. 



1099 J 

Banza Nkulu . 




Mean = 1212. 



17- " 

Nelongo's Village — 


Negolo . 


Banza Chingufii 



18.— Chingufu. 


■ Sept 19. 

Sept 20. 


Mean = 1694 feet 
Sec Sept ir. 


Sept. ; 

Sept. 12. 


Sept a6. — Porto de t.£Dha. 
SepL aS. — Banana factory- 

Mean = 73 feet. 

94 "i 




{Form of French Passport.') 


Ce jourd'hui mil huit cent soixante 

par devant nous 

Commissaire du Gouvemement Fran^ais, Agent d'^migration, 

confonn^ment i I'article 8 du d^cret du 27 Mars 1852, assist^ 

de t^moins requis, a comparu le nomni^ 

noir libre, n^ au village de 
c&te de ig^ de lequel nous a 

d^clar^ consentir libreraent et de son plein gr^ ^ partir pour 
une des Colonies Frangaises d'Amerique pour y contracter I'en- 
gagement de travail ci-apr^s ddtailld et prdsentt par M 

au nom de M. R^ profit de I'habitant 
qui sera d^sign^ par TAdministrafion locale k son arriv6e dans 
la Colonic. 

Les conditions d'engagement de travail sont les suivantes: 

Art. I. 
Le nomra^ s'engage, tant pour les 

travaux de culture et de fabrication sucri&re &c. que pour tons 
autres d' exploitation agricole et industrielle auxquels I'engagiste 
jugera convenable de I'employer et g^dralement pour tous les 
travaux quelconques de domesticity. 

Art. 2. 

Le present engagement de travail est de dix ann^s \ partir 

du jour de I'entr^e au service de I'engagiste. L'engag^ doit 26 

jours de travail efiectits et complets par mois ; les gages ne 

11. A A 


354 Appendix. 

seront dus qu' apAs a6 jours de travail. Lajoum^ de travail 
ordinaire sera celle ^tablie par les liglements existant dans la 
Colonie. A I'^poque de la manipulation I'engag^ sera tenu de 
travailler sans augmentation de salaiies suivant les besoins dc 
r^tablisseinent oil il sera employ^. (The employer can thus 
overwork his slaves as much as he pleases.) 

Art. 3. 
L'engagiste aura le droit de c^der et transporter \ qui bon lui 
semblera, sous le controle de I'Administration le present engage- 
ment de travail contract^ k son profit. (N.B, — The owner can 
thus separate iamilies.) 

Art. 4. 
L'engag^ sera log^ sur I'^tablissement oh il sera employ^ ; il 
aura droit, de la port de l'engagiste aux soins m^caux, i sa 
nourriture, laquelle sera conforme aux rfeglements et \ I'usage 
adopts dans la Colonie pour les gens de travail du pays. Bien 
entendu que toute maladie contract^ par un fait Stranger, soit 
k ses travaux, soit k ses occupadons, serak ses &ais. (Thus bed 
and board are at the discretion of the employer, and the gate of 
fraud is left open.) 

Art. 5. 

Le salaire de ren- / " '''^" !«""« 5°""^' 
gagtestde . Y% " PO"' « f«^«. 

^ 8 „ pour lesenfants de lok 14 ans., 
par mois de a6 jours de travail, comme il est dit k I'article a, i 
pardi de 8 jours aprfes son d^barquement dans la colonic 
Moiti^ de cette somme lui sera pay^c fin chaque mois, I'autre 
nioid^ le sera fin de chaque ann^e. (Not even festivals allowed 
as holidays.) 

Art.' 6. 
L'engag^ reconnait avoir re^u en avance, du repr^sentant de 
M. R^gis, la somme de Deux cents frahcs dont il s'est servi